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Archbishop of Munich 

Translated by 




Copyright, 1934, by 

All rights reserved no part of this book 
may be reproduced in any form without 
permission in writing from the publisher 
except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief 
s in connection with a review written 
t magazine or newspaper. 


THE sermons preached by Cardinal Michael von 
Faulhaber during December, 1933, and issued here 
in an English version are, of course, no mere ad- 
ditions to the literature of pulpit oratory. They 
form a document of quite unusual value concern- 
ing one of the fiercest and most crucial of the many 
struggles through which a civilization only a little 
while ago termed "modern" is now everywhere 
passing. This I wish to make clear in a brief fore- 
word, the invitation to write which is both an 
honor and a challenge. 

When Cardinal Faulhaber addressed the faithful 
congregated in Munich cathedral on the Sundays 
of Advent, the followers of Adolf Hitler had been 
in full control of Germany for some eight months. 
There was considerable difference of opinion re- 
garding this condition among those who did not 
profess the National-Socialist doctrine, some look- 
ing upon the Nazi triumph as. inevitable and there- 
fore beyond criticism, others viewing it as at least an 
antidote to Communism and destined to outgrow 
the excesses which had marked its access to power, 
and still others facing it with real hostility or dread. 
All these views were current among German Catho- 


lies, whose attitude was a matter of importance 
both because they had been solidly organized in 
a political party of more than sixty years' standing 
and because they alone through the hierarchy of 
their Church had several times condemned some 
tenets of the Nazi creed as unethical and incom- 
patible with a Christian view of life. 

By December the meaning of events had grown 
far clearer. Despite expressions of neutrality which 
came from Hitler himself, leaders of the party had 
launched an attack against the independence of 
the churches. Jewry had, to be sure, been under 
fire from the beginning; and it was largely because 
of what anti-Semitism involved that the Nazis pro- 
ceeded to engage in debate with Lutheranism and 
Catholicism. The chief issue in the struggle which 
went on for months (and which still continues) 
between the National-Socialist "German Chris- 
tians" and orthodox Lutherans or Evangelicals was 
whether a baptized Jew could possess equal rights 
with others inside the church. As the argument 
progressed, the more extreme among the "German 
Christians" attacked the validity of the Old Testa- 
ment and even asserted that Jesus Christ was not 
a Jew but an Aryan. Indeed, toward the close of 
1933 the threat to establish a "national church" 
free of Semitic taint, definitively Teutonic and en- 
dowed with a special grant of favor from the Hit- 
ler regime had become a grave and serious danger. 

At this moment the Cardinal of Munich resolved 


to deliver the sermons which are here reissued. The 
reader must bear in mind always that they grew 
out of the discussion concerning the status of the 
Jew and his tradition, and that they had no bear- 
ing on other questions which were tending to cre- 
ate an antithesis between Hitlerism and Catholi- 
cism. During the months preceding, the Vatican 
had signed a Concordat with the Nazi government. 
The ink was hardly dry when trouble arose con- 
cerning the inviolability of the pulpit, the rights 
of Catholic youth and worker organizations, the 
sterilization of the so-called "unfit" and other 
things. Quite as important, no doubt, was the prob- 
lem of nationalism itself. Several Papal Encyclicals 
had dedicated Catholics to the cause of peace and 
international cooperation. German bishops and 
leaders had staunchly supported this movement, 
which had no more unflinching advocate than the 
Cardinal of Munich. Nevertheless, in view of the 
fact that negotiations over questions affecting Ger- 
man Catholics were then being conducted by the 
Vatican, Cardinal Faulhaber would not have ven- 
tured to make them topics of public addresses. He 
was acting as a religious teacher, conscious of the 
obligation to withstand trends of thought inimical 
to religion and the moral law. 

The general subject of these addresses is the Old 
Testament, which is defended as an integral part 
of Christian tradition. Jehovah as he has been wor- 
shiped by the Jews is not a Deity alien to the Fa- 


ther of whom Christ spoke. While the Gospels re- 
veal more of God than Moses and the Prophets 
were able to discern, He remains one and the same 
on Mount Sinai and Mount Calvary. Therefore 
the spiritual and ethical truth enshrined in the 
Sacred Books of the Hebrews must be accepted 
as divine of origin by all who are Christians in the 
Catholic sense. Even if Jews were really in every 
way reprehensible, the fact would remain that the 
word conserved by them during thousands of years 
cannot be abrogated by as much as a single jot or 
tittle. On the other hand, the endeavor to blend 
Christianity with Germanic myth to wed the 
Trinity and Wotan, as it were is foredoomed to 
failure. Between Christ and the demigods of saga 
and folk-lore there is only one possible relation: 
that between victor and vanquished. 

So runs the argument. Cardinal Faulhaber was 
peculiarly well fitted to discuss this highly actual 
topic. He had been a professor of Old Testament 
history, studying it with the thoroughness so char- 
acteristic of German scholars and yet never losing 
himself in merely academic minutiae. He was also 
the churchman of his country to whom all, friend 
and foe alike, would listen with attention. His 
fearlessness and eminence of character had left 
their mark on the tangled decade which followed 
the War. Millions had learned to consider his the 
voice through which Catholic conviction would be 
expressed in times of doubt, chaos and peril. 


These sermons therefore echoed throughout the 
land with impressive finality, strengthening many 
who had begun to despair in the spirit and chal- 
lenging others whose aims were to uproot the ven- 
erable ideology of the Christian faith. For weeks 
after they were printed in brochure form, these 
sermons enjoyed the vogue of a best-selling book 
in virtually all parts of Europe. Today that bro- 
chure can no longer be purchased in Germany. In- 
deed, an attack was made upon the life of the 
Cardinal soon after the year 1934 had dawned, the 
would-be assassins being motivated chiefly by their 
resentment of the reasoning which the American 
reader is now able to follow through the medium 
of an accurate translation. 

Catholic, Protestant and Jew can, I believe, learn 
from this book and of course from the experience 
which underlies it how much of central religious 
importance they share in common. To undermine 
the Jewish foundations of the Christian faith in 
order to prepare the way for a cult of racial na- 
tionalism is to leave that faith dangling in mid-air, 
without either roots or an excuse for any longer 
existing. If at some future time we in the United 
States should be menaced by a drift to hatreds 
paralleling those now unleashed in Nazi Germany, 
the stand taken by a Catholic authority could be 
no different from that so lucidly, bravely and ef- 
fectively outlined in this bool^. 














c Do not think that I am come to destroy the law 
or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but 
to fulfil. For amen I say to you, till heaven and 
earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall not pass of 
the law, till all be fulfilled ' (Matt, v, 17 seq.). 

\ LREAD Y in the year 1 899, on the occasion 
JLJL of an anti-Semitic demonstration at Ham- 
burg, and simultaneously in Chamberlain's 
book, The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, 
a demand was raised for the total separation of 
Judaism from Christianity, and for the com- 
plete elimination from Christianity of all 
Jewish elements. Nearly two decades later 
these ideas were once more propagated in such 


books as The Sin Against Blood, The Great Fraud 
and The False God. Judaism and Christianity, 
it was maintained, were incompatible ; the 
Jewish Bible must be replaced by a German 
Bible ; Martin Luther had done only half his 
work, for in his Bible he had included the 
Scriptures of the Old Testament. To-day 
these single voices have swelled together into a 
chorus : Away with the Old Testament ! 
A Christianity which still clings to the Old 
Testament is a Jewish religion, irreconcilable 
with the spirit of the German people. Children 
at school must no longer be bothered with 
Bible stories of Joseph the Egyptian or the 
ancient Moses. . . . Given the present general 
attitude of mind, this outcry is well calculated 
to shake the foundations of the faith in the 
souls of the German people. 

Even the Person of Christ is not spared by 
this religious revolution. Some have indeed 
tried to save Him with a forged birth-certifi- 
cate, and have said that He was not a Jew at 
all but an Aryan, because there were Aryans 
among the inhabitants of Galilee. But so long 
as historical, sources count for more than sur- 
mise, there can be no doubt about the fact. 
The first chapter of the first gospel gives us the 
genealogy of Jesus, with the title : e The book 


of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of 
David, the son of Abraham. 5 Similarly, the 
Epistle to the Romans attests the origin of 
Jesus from the seed of David (i, 4). Undoubt- 
edly the Galileans, a borderland people, were 
of mixed origin. But Christ was not born in 
Galilee ; He was bom in Bethlehem, the city 
of David, in the land of the tribe of Juda, and 
officially He was entered in the register as a 
descendant of David. And so others now take 
up the cry : Then we must renounce Him, if 
He was a Jew and the scene of the Gospel is 
re-enacted : * They thrust Him out of the city 
and brought Him to the brow of the hill 
whereon their city was built, that they might 
cast Him down headlong ' (Luke iv, 29). 
c Again they took up stones to stone Him 3 
(Johnx, 31). 

When such voices are raised, when such 
movements are afoot, the bishop cannot remain 
silent. When racial research, in itself not a 
religious matter, makes war upon religion and 
attacks the foundations of Christianity ; when 
antagonism to the Jews of the present day is 
extended to the sacred books of the Old Testa- 
ment and Christianity is condemned because 
it has relations of origin with pre-Christian 
Judaism ; when stones are cast at the Person 


of our Lord and Saviour, and this in the very 
year in which we are celebrating the centenary 
of His work of Redemption, then the bishop 
cannot remain silent. And therefore I preach 
these Advent sermons on the Old Testament 
and its fulfilment in Christianity. 

On this subject I may claim to speak as a 
specialist, having spent eleven years of my life 
lecturing on these questions in the University 
of Wiirzburg, and having held the chair of Old 
Testament Scripture in the University of 


So that I may be perfectly clear and preclude 
any possible misunderstanding, let me begin by 
making three distinctions. We must first dis- 
tinguish between the people of Israel before 
and after the death of Christ. Before the death 
of Christ during the period between the calling 
of Abraham and the fullness of time, the 
people of Israel were the vehicle of Divine 
Revelation. The Spirit of God raised up and 
enlightened men who by the law, the Mosaic 
Thorah, regulated their religious and civil life, 
by the Psalms provided them with a prayer- 
book for family devotion and a hymn-book for 


the public liturgy, by the Sapiential books 
taught them how to conduct their lives, and as 
prophets awakened the conscience of the nation 
with the living word. It is only with this 
Israel of the early biblical period that I shall 
deal in my Advent sermons. 

After the death of Christ Israel was dis- 
missed from the service of Revelation. She 
had not known the time of her visitation. She 
had repudiated and rejected the Lord's 
Anointed, had driven Him out of the city and 
nailed Him to the Cross. Then the veil of the 
Temple was rent, and with it the covenant 
between the Lord and His people. The 
daughters of Sion received the bill of divorce, 
and from that time forth Assuerus wanders, 
for ever restless, over the face of the earth. 
Even after the death of Christ the Jews are still 
a c mystery/ as St. Paul says (Rom. xi, 25) ; 
and one day, at the end of time, for them too 
the hour of grace will strike (Rom. xi, 26). 
But I repeat in these Advent sermons I am 
speaking only of pre-Christian Judaism. 

In the second place we must distinguish 
between the Scriptures of the Old Testament 
on the one hand and the Talmudic writings of 
post-Christian Judaism on the other, whether 
these be glosses and commentaries on the 


biblical text or separate religious works ; I 
mean especially the Talmud, the Mischna, and 
the mediaeval code of laws, Schulchan Arukh. 
The Talmudic writings are the work of man ; 
they were not prompted by the Spirit of God. 
It is only the sacred writings of pre-Christian 
Judaism, not the Talmud, that the Church of 
the New Testament has accepted as her 
inheritance. 1 

Thirdly, we must distinguish in the Old 
Testament Bible itself between what had only 
transitory value and what had permanent 
value. The long genealogies had value in 
ancient times, but their value was not per- 
manent ; similarly the numerous regulations 
for the ancient sacrifices and ceremonial 
cleansings. For the purpose of our subject we 
are concerned only with those religious, ethical, 
and social values of the Old Testament which 
remain as values also for Christianity. 

1 The word Testament (will) was invented by Christ 
Himself (Mark xiv, 34), and its meaning is more fully 
developed by St. Paul in his epistles. Properly the name 
belongs only to the New Testament, which * is offeree ' 
only after the death of the testator (Heb. ix, 16-17) ; 
but subsequently it was extended also to the Old 



It is a fact in the history of civilization, that 
among no people of the pre-Christian era do 
we find so great a number of intellectually 
prominent men who, by their words and by 
their whole personality, have devoted them- 
selves to the religious guidance of their nation, 
as among the people of the early Bible. 
Among no other people do we find a series of 
writings in which the fundamental truths of 
the religious life are presented with such 
clarity, such distinctness and such harmony as 
in the Mosaic Pentateuch with the simple 
beauty of its biblical stories ; in the books of 
Kings, classical models in the art of historical 
writing which, by the way, our Germanists 
would do well to notice ; in the books of the 
Chronicles with their liturgical prescriptions ; 
in the book of Job with its treatment of the 
problem of suffering ; in the Sapiential books 
with their maxims of conduct ; in the books of 
the four major and the twelve minor prophets 
with their national sermons ; in the books of 
the Machabees, where the ancient heroism of 
the faith is once more resplendent. In these 


days, when the history and tHe literature of 
other pre-Christian peoples are being investi- 
gated, the science of religions is able to make 
the comparison ; and to the people of Israel it 
will award this certificate : You have excelled 
them all by the sublimity of your religion ; 
among all the nations of antiquity you have 
exhibited the noblest religious values. 

But pre-Christian Judaism did not produce 
these values of itself. c Prophecy came not by 
the will of man at any time ; but the holy 
men of God spoke inspired by the Holy Ghost ' 
(2 Pet. i, 21). The Spirit of the Lord en- 
lightened them ; their tongues, as the Psalmist 
says, were the pencils of God, and therefore 
their speech was the word of God and their 
books, as the Fathers of Trent declared, have 
c God as their author.' The French biblical 
critic (Renan) would have it that these books 
were the natural product of the Semitic mind. 
But in that case why did the other Semitic 
races produce nothing equal or even similar ? 
The Babylonians were masters in the arts of 
secular civilization, especially in the construc- 
tion of canals and fortifications ; but they have 
left no heritage to the history of religions. The 
Arabs, also a Semitic people, near neighbours 
of the Israelites and closely related to them by 


blood, were, from the religious point of view, 
as sterile as the sand of their own deserts. Why 
God should have chosen just this particular 
people of Israel, in this little corner of the earth 
called Palestine, to be the vehicle of His 
Revelation, remains a mystery of the dis- 
pensation of His grace. But we give thanks to 
the Father of lights for having preserved their 
Holy Scriptures for us in texts and versions, as 
6 the book of life ' (Eccli. xxiv, 32). 

In particular, human civilization and the V 
Christian religion are indebted to the Old 
Testament for a pure and elevated conception 
of the Godhead, the most biblical thing in the 
Bible ; for the revelation of Jahwe, Him who is, 
the God of Sabaoth, the Lord of armies, the 
only God 3 who suffers no strange gods before 
Him ; the transcendent, personal God who by 
His revelation stooped down from His infinite 
heights and through His envoys spoke to men, 
gave them His law and required that His law 
should be obeyed ; the God who, to use the 
poetical but unphilosophical language of the 
Psalmist, has put on praise and beauty, is 
clothed with light as with a garment, stretches 
out the heaven like a pavilion, makes the spirits 
His angels and the burning fire His minister 
(Ps. ciii, 1-4). The conception of God is the 


noblest conception that the mind of man can 

The peoples in the neighbourhood of 
Chanaan did not even approach to the high 
level of the Jewish conception of God : neither 
the Assyrians and Babylonians with their 
hymns to the gods, pious enough though they 
were ; nor the Egyptians with their animal 
idols. Even the Greeks, that highly intellectual 
people, had an Olympus of gods, and notwith- 
standing the Neoplatonic expurgations of their 
theodicy they never achieved so sublime a 
conception of the Godhead. 

I am aware of the objections which are made 
against the God of the Old Testament : God, 
it is said, commanded Abraham to offer human 
sacrifice. God did not require a human 
sacrifice. He wanted to try the Patriarch, to 
see whether he could practise faith and 
obedience, even when the human understand- 
ing is at a loss, even when the heart of a father 
must break. In other incidents Jahwe appears 
as angry and passionate. The reason is that 
harsh times call for harsh words. Elsewhere, 
too, the imagery has an Oriental colouring and 
there is talk of envy and revenge ; or sublime 
ideas are expressed in elementary guise, so as 
to be understood by those who were but 


children in the preparatory school of Divine 

In the Gospel of the New Testament the 
ancient conception of God is perfected and 
fulfilled. Christ came into the world that we 
might know the Father 6 the only true God, and 
Jesus Christ * whom He had sent (John xvii, 3) . 
The men of the Old Covenant spoke as 
c children 5 ; the New Testament has become 
a man and ' has put away the things of a 
child 5 (i Cor. xiii, n). The same God who 
spoke from the bush on Mount Horeb had 
now appeared visibly in the Person of 
Emmanuel, God with us. Christ called the 
God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob c the 
God of the living ' (Matt, xxii, 32), and in the 
first petition of the Our Father marvellously 
summed up all the ancient hymns to God. 
The God of the New Testament is not a dif- 
ferent God from the God of the Old. But the 
idea of God is perfected and fulfilled in the 
Gospel in three ways : Here the Divine per- 
fections are more clearly revealed. Here the 
monotheism of the Old Testament is developed 
into the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. This 
mystery had already been foreshadowed in the 
triple Sanctus of the Old Testament ; but here 
it is openly revealed : e In the name of the 


Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.' 
Finally, here in the Gospel man is shown the 
way to God : * No man,' says Christ, c cometh 
to the Father but by Me ' (John xiv, 6). 

Our Government has made a public pro- 
fession of belief in God ; and for this we are 
thankful. It was not a recognition of the God 
of the Old Testament. It could only be a 
profession of faith in the God of the Gospel, 
and therefore of faith in Christ. Among 
Christians the meaning of the word ' God ' 
must not be so attenuated that it may be 
applied indifferently to the Jupiter of Olympus, 
to the Allah of Mecca or to the Donar of the 
ancient Germans. 

The second great religious value of the Old 
Testament is the idea of redemption. The 
Gospel is the ' good tidings * of * eternal 
redemption' (Heb. ix, 12). We read in the 
Gospel of to-day : ' Lift up your heads, for 
your redemption is at hand ' (Luke xxi, 28). 
But throughout the Old Testament the same 
voice resounds : I know that my Redeemer 
liveth ' (Job xix, 25). * Let the clouds rain the 
just ; let the earth be opened and bud forth a 
saviour' (Is. xlv, 8). Compare with this 
the religious books of the Indians, which 
preach the end of all in Nirvana : the 


tidings of despair. A Book which brings the 
good tidings of redemption c Shake off the 
iust. . . . Thy light is come and the glory of 
the Lord is risen upon thee * (Is. lii, i ; Ix, i) 
a Book which arouses us from torpor and 
despair, is a benefactor to humanity. 

In the messianic prophecies the portrait of 
the Redeemer is filled in feature by feature. 
He is hailed from afar as the conqueror of 
Satan, as the desired of nations, as the seed of 
the royal house, as the Wisdom of God, as 
the light of the Gentiles, as the wondrous child, 
as the mighty hero, as the Father of the world 
to come and the Prince of peace, as the lamb 
at the slaughter. The prophecies are supple- 
mented by types, especially by the Paschal 
lamb, in whose blood the people were delivered 
from captivity in Egypt. Thus marvellously 
did the finger of God draw the line that 
leads straight through the centuries to the 


Let us venerate the Scriptures of the Old 
Testament ! We do not set the Old Testament 
and the New on the same level. The Sacred 
Scriptures of the New Testament, the Gospels, 


the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and the 
Apocalypse must hold the place of honour. 
But the Scriptures of the Old Testament are 
also inspired, and therefore they are sacred 
books, precious stones for the building of God's 
kingdom, priceless values for our religious 
guidance. And therefore the Church has 
stretched forth her protecting hand over the 
Scriptures of the Old Testament ; she has 
gathered together the forty-five books of the 
Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of 
the New into one volume, and she has used the 
text of the Old Testament also in her liturgy. 
By accepting these books Christianity does not 
become a Jewish religion. These books were 
not composed by Jews ; they are inspired by 
the Holy Ghost, and therefore they are the 
word of God, they are God's books. The 
writers of them were God's pencils, the Psalm- 
singers were harps in the hand of God, the 
prophets were announcers of God's revelation. 
It is for this reason that the Scriptures of the 
Old Testament are woijthy of credence and 
veneration for all time. Antagonism to the 
Jews of to-day must not be extended to the 
books of pre-Christian Judaism. 

In the New Testament, in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews (ch. n), Abel, Enoch, and other 


figures of Old Testament history are held up as 
models of faith to be imitated by Christians. 
St. Francis of Assisi once picked up a scrap of 
paper from the ground. c Let no man tread 
this under foot/ he said, fi for the name of God 
can be written thereon/ Let no man trample 
under foot the Sacred Scriptures of the Old 
Testament ; for the name of God is written 
there. Cardinal Manning once said to the 
Jews : * I should not understand my own 
religion, had I no reverence for yours. 5 

Let us venerate the Scriptures of the Old 
Testament! And let us not allow Bible 
history to be abolished in our schools ! These 
biblical stories have a great educational value 
in the school, so long as they are well selected 
and told in attractive language, and if the 
teacher knows how to make them live. 

Side by side with the Bible there is a second 
source of revelation, the Tradition of the 
Church. Side by side with the Book stands the 
living teacher, the authority of the Church. 
Beside the good pasture stands the good 
shepherd, beside the precious materials for the 
building stands the good architect. Therefore 
the anti-Moses movement does not affect us 
Catholics so vitally as our separated brethren, 
who regard the Bible as the sole foundation of 


their faith. To these separated brethren we 
stretch forth our hand to make common cause 
with them in defence of the sacred books of 
the Old Testament, so that we may save them 
for the German nation and preserve this 
precious treasury of doctrine for th\^Christian 

The German classics honoured the Scriptures 
of the Old Testament. Biblical quotations are 
to be found in the earliest pieces of German 
literature, in the Song of Roland, in the song 
of the Holy Grail, in Wolfram of Eschenbach's 
Parsifal. Many of the most ancient specimens 
of epigrammatic poetry contain ideas, and 
even verbal quotations, taken from the Wisdom 
books of the Old Testament. Walter von 
Wogelweide and other minnesingers were 
familiar with the pre-Christian Bible. In the 
golden age of German literature we have 
Klopstock, the poet of the Messias, Herder, the 
panegyrist of Hebrew poetry, and Goethe who, 
if not filled with the religious spirit of the Bible, 
was enamoured of the beauty of its language. 
In modern comedy and drama, in mystery- 
plays and in prose we find numerous quota- 
tions from the Old Testament, though as in 
HebbePs Judith it is often merely the letter 
and not the spirit of the Bible that is repro- 


duced. If we are to repudiate the Old Testa- 
ment and banish it from our schools and from 
our national libraries, then we must disown our 
German classics. We must cancel many phrases 
from the German language ; we must no 
longer speak of the forbidden fruit or of the 
sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance, of the 
little Benjamin or the chaste Joseph, of 
Egyptian darkness or the confusion of Babylon, 
of the olive-branch of peace or the scape-goat. 
We must disown the intellectual history of our 
nation. Let us venerate the sacred Scriptures 
of the Old Testament ! 

A second warning : Let us endeavour with 
the help of God's grace to fulfil the Old Testa- 
ment in ourselves. Christ did not come to 
destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfil 
them. On another occasion He said : c This 
that is written must yet be fulfilled in Me ' 
(Luke xxii, 37). How often we read in the 
Gospel of St. Matthew : this thing or that 
happened, that the word of the prophet might 
be fulfilled ! What does it mean, to fulfil the 
Old Testament ? To fulfil means to complete 
and to finish that which is incomplete ; to fill 
to the brim that which is half-empty (the 
metaphor is taken from a dry measure or a 
glass) ; to make perfect that which is imperfect. 


To fulfil means, metaphorically speaking, 
to take the kernel out of the shell, to pass from 
the preparatory school of the Old Testament 
into the high school of the Gospel, to turn from 
the type to the prototype. The Old Testament 
was good in itself, but in comparison with the 
New Testament it is like a work unfinished, 
half-done, incomplete. The New Testament 
completed God's revelation to man : ' When 
that which is perfect is come, then that which 
is in part shall be done away ' (i Cor. xiii, 10). 
The people of Israel, through the Mother of 
the Saviour, were kinsmen of Christ. But in 
the kingdom of God ties of blood are not suffi- 
cient. The Precursor told his hearers point- 
blank : Think not to say within yourselves : 
We have Abraham for our father. For I tell 
you that God is able of these stones to raise up 
children to Abraham' (Matt, iii, 9). The 
Saviour Himself was once told while He was 
preaching : ' Thy mother and Thy brethren 
stand without, desiring to see Thee. Who 
answering said to them : My mother and My 
brethren are they who hear the word of God 
and do it' (Luke viii, 20). Christ, therefore, 
rejects the ties of blood ; He demands the tie 
of faith, the hearing of the word of God. Who- 
ever is united with Christ by baptism and by 


living faith is mother or brother to Him. So 
the question is not : Was Christ a Jew or an 
Aryan ? It is : Are we members of Christ by 
baptism and by faith ? * For in Christ Jesus 
neither circumcision availeth anything, nor 
uncircumcision ; but a new creature * (Gal. 
vi, 15). The Old Testament was founded 
upon ties of blood, the New Testament is 
founded upon the tie of faith. More grievous 
than the c Sin against Blood J is the sin against 
the faith. 

Christ is the personal fulfilment of the Old 
Testament. In Christ the law and the pro- 
phets were fulfilled even to the jot and the tittle, 
that is, even to the tiniest letters of the Hebrew 
alphabet. We, too, must grow out of the Old 
Testament, we must ( fulfil ' the Old Testa- 
ment in ourselves. In particular this means that : 

We must fulfil the prayers of the Old Testa- 
ment. The Psalms, those prayers of immortal 
beauty, have been adopted by the Church in 
her breviary ; so, too, have those truly heroic 
prayers of the Machabees (i Mach. iii, 59 seq.). 
The prayers of the Old Testament receive their 
fulfilment, their perfection, when they cease to 
be mechanical lip-service, and become prayer 
in spirit and in truth, prayer in the name of 


We must fulfil prayer and alms-deeds. The 
prophets commanded holy fasting (Joel ii, 19). 
But in later times fasting was profaned by 
Pharisaical hypocrisy, almsgiving was blazoned 
forth at the street corners. Fasting and alms- 
deeds are fulfilled in the spirit of the Gospel 
when fasting is observed in humility of spirit, 
and alms are given, not from pharisaical 
vanity, but from real love for our needy 

We must fulfil the ceremonial cleansings of 
the Old Testament. What a number of wash- 
ings and cleansings were required before the 
leper was declared clean, before one who was 
defiled was c cleansed as to the flesh by the 
blood of goats and of oxen * (Heb. ix, 13) ! 
We fulfil these usages when we cleanse our 
souls from the leprosy of sin by sorrow and 
confession, when we purify ourselves inwardly 
in the blood of the Lamb of God. 

We must fulfil the sacrificial laws of the Old 
Testament. No more do we offer animals as 
bleeding victims on the steaming altar ; we 
fulfil the Old Testament by taking part in the 
clean oblation which, according to the words 
of the prophet (Mai. i, 11), * is offered to the 
name of the Lord among the nations from the 
rising of the sun to the going down thereof/ 


So everyone, through Christ and with Him 
and in Him, must fulfil the Old Testament in 
himself. Only then have we passed from the 
kingdom of the shadows of the Old Testament 
into the kingdom of the light of the Gospel, 
from the letter of the service of God to the 
spirit of Divine sonship, from Judaism to 
Christianity, when we have passed from lip- 
service to prayer in the name of Jesus, from 
Pharisaical fasting and alms-deeds to humility 
and love, from external cleanliness to purity 
of heart, from the offering of bloody hands to 
the pure sacrifice of our altars. Only then 
have we grown out of the Judaism of the Old 
Testament, only then are we in Christianity, 
when we have the Spirit of Christ and His love 
within us. Amen. 




c What things soever were written, were written for 
our learning, that through patience and the 
comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope.' 

(Rom. xv, 4.) 


IN our first Advent sermon we studied the 
religious values of the sacred books of pre- 
Christian Judaism : the conception of God, 
which reached a high level unique in the 
history of ancient civilization ; the idea of 
redemption, which shines with the light of the 
morning-star through the Advent of the Old 
Covenant. We spoke of the permanent litur- 
gical values of the Old Testament, of the 
Psalms and other texts which have been 
adopted in the breviary, in the missal, and 
generally in the liturgy of the Church. The 
very names of Easter and Pentecost in the 
Christian calendar come down to us from 


early biblical times : * These things were done 
in a figure of us 3 (i Cor. x, 6). And when the 
priest of the New Covenant offers the sacri- 
fice of the Holy Mass he prays that God may 
accept this sacrifice as He accepted the sacrifice 
of Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham and the 
sacrifice of Melchisedech. We also indicated 
the educational values of the books of the Old 
Testament,, and demanded, also on this ground, 
veneration for the books of Sion, and the con- 
tinuance of the teaching of Bible history in 
German schools. Much of the Old Testament 
had a merely ephemeral value, such as the long 
histories of wars, the genealogies with their 
long lists of names, and partially at any rate 
the comminatory sermons of the prophets. 
But it also -contains much which, with more or 
less of modification and improvement, possesses 
permanent value for the period of the Gospel. 
But the most serious charges are made nowa- 
days, not against the religious values of the Old 
Testament, but against its ethical values. 
Modern objections against Bible teaching in 
schools are based on the ground that the 
Patriarch Jacob, the fraudulent inheritor, 
Joseph the Egyptian, the usurious hoarder of 
corn, and other monsters, are far from being 
examples of morality for school children. 


And so the Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testa- 
ment, which all Christians, of whatever 
denomination, treat with reverence, are spoken 
of in blasphemous terms which may not be 
repeated in this holy place. Therefore I have 
chosen as the subject of my second Advent 
sermon : The ethical values of the Old Testa- 
ment and their perfection in the Gospel. 
To-day's epistle opens with the words of St. 
Paul : * What things soever were written, were 
written for our learning/ The Spirit of God, 
who inspired the Sacred Scriptures of the Old 
Testament equally with those of the New, is not 
only a Spirit of religious truth, He is also a Spirit 
of holiness and of moral purity. Therefore His 
books are for our instruction in morals as well 
as in religion. The study and meditation of 
the Scriptures should not only make us grow 
in faith, but also make us better and holier. 
To-day again we are concerned only with 
pre-Christian Judaism. And we place this 
meditation on the ethical values of the Old 
Testament under the patronage of the Immacu- 
late Virgin, that stainless and lily-white blossom 
of the Old Testament, the outstanding model 
of ethical perfection. 



i. The supreme rule of ethical conduct is 
the will of God. Therefore the Psalmist prays : 
' Lord, show me Thy ways. Send me Thy 
light that I may know Thy ways. Gird me 
with Thy strength that I may walk in Thy 
ways unswervingly. 5 The ten commandments 
of Sinai express the will of God in a form which 
is at once most brief and infinitely profound. 
If necessary, the ten commandments might 
have been discovered by man through the use 
of his own unaided reason. Evidently, if men 
are to live together in a manner befitting their 
dignity, then they must not kill, betray, or rob 
one another. The human mind might have 
learned this for itself. But when these ten 
commandments come to us as a Divine 
Revelation, as a document signed by God Him- 
self, they are endowed with a clearer evidence 
and a higher authority, and it becomes obvious 
that they cannot be changed by man at will. 
God says that you must conduct your individual 
and social life in this way : c You shall believe 
in the one God, you shall not take His name in 
vain, you shall keep His day holy. You shall 
honour your father and your mother, you shall 
not kill, or break your marriage troth, you 


shall not steal or deceive. 5 These ten com- 
mandments are the eternal and fundamental 
values of the moral order, the eternal and 
fundamental laws for all social order, the 
eternal norms for all civic law and juris- 
prudence, the eternal corner-stones for the 
ethics of family life, the lighthouse which with 
its ten beams still sends out its radiance. 

The Decalogue of Sinai infinitely excels in 
ethical values all the gentile laws of antiquity, 
especially in two respects : First, because in 
the Decalogue the moral order is founded 
upon belief in God. On the first of the tables 
are written the duties of man towards God : 
c You shall adore the Lord your God, venerate 
His name, keep His day holy/ On the second, 
the duties of man towards his fellows : fi You 
shall keep family life sacred, respect the life 
and health of your fellow-man, keep your 
plighted word, respect the property and the 
spouse of your neighbour/ Hence there is no 
respect for the rights of men, no national 
morality, where there is no fear of God, no 
religion. The law of the Lord cannot be 
divorced from the Lord of the law. There can 
be no moral order in the world were it even 
a Paradise if the moral order is not based 
upon belief in God. 


The second great superiority of the Deca- 
logue consists in this, that it not only forbids 
external malice in word or in deed, but also 
requires that a man's inner thoughts be regu- 
lated and subordinated to God's will : Be ye 
holy, as the Lord your God is holy ' (Lev. xix, 
2, 26 ; xxi, 8). The laws of Babylon do not 
reach this high ethical standard ; for even 
what is good in their teaching is mingled 
with superstition and magic, and their gods, 
especially the goddess Ishtar, are far from being 
models of morality. The brightest side of the 
ethical doctrine of the Old Testament is to 
be found in the ten commandments of 

2. It is in keeping with the essential charac- 
ter of the Bible as the Book of truth, that the 
moral virtue of veracity is strongly emphasized 
therein, and all lies and double-dealing 
unequivocally condemned. The eighth com- 
mandment : c Thou shalt not bear false wit- 
ness against thy neighbour * (Exod. xx, 16), is 
primarily a law for the safeguarding of 
veracity. To understand the truth you must 
yourself be true. You must not hesitate 
between truth and falsehood. e A lie is a foul 
blot in a man 5 (Eccli. xx, 26). It is pharisaical 
to speak 'with a double heart 9 (Ps. xi, 2). 


Here is a law which might at first sight seem 
strange to us : c Thou shalt not plough with 
an ox and an ass together. Thou shalt not 
wear a garment that is woven of woollen and 
linen together' (Deut. xxii, 10). In the 
proverbial language of the East it means a 
command to avoid all that savours of double- 
dealing and deceit. 

3. The ethical teaching of the Old Testa- 
ment appears to advantage also in the book of 
Proverbs and the other Sapiential books. First 
they give us homely practical rules for good 
manners and hygiene. Thus, you must not 
take the first place at table, or choose the best 
morsels for yourself (Prov. xxiii, 1-3 ; Eccli, 
xxxi, 1 2-2 1 ) ; you must not listen at doors 
(Eccli, xxi, 23), nor out-stay your welcome 
(Prov. xxv, 17). They are full of proverbs, 
some of which, e.g. : c 111 gotten goods bring 
no blessing * (Prov. x, 2) ; ' Pride comes 
before a fall 9 (Prov. xvi, 18), we have adopted 
for our own use. These practical rules for daily 
life might be found just as easily in Indian 
or Arabian books of a similar kind. They only 
show that the whole of our daily life must be 
regulated according to the moral order. 

But these books contain a higher wisdom 
besides. Not the wisdom of the street-corners, 


nor the wisdom of the learned schools, but the 
conduct which God requires of us, of which 
the beginning and the end is the fear of the 
Lord (Prov. i, 6 ; viii, 19 ; 6-9) : c Behold 
the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. And to 
depart from evil is understanding * (Job xxviii, 
28). Such is the wisdom of these inspired 
books. The frequent repetition of the words, 

* Hear, my son/ and their didactic tone show 
that they were used for the instruction and 
education of the young. Hence reverence for 
parents, for old age, and for women is often 
inculcated (Prov. xvi, 31 ; xiv, i). In this 
last point the ethical teaching of the Old 
Testament shows a marked superiority over 
contemporary practice. Outside Palestine the 
ancient East treated women as slaves without 
rights. In the Bible, on the contrary, a woman 
is called * a crown to her husband J (Prov. 
xii, 4), and in the fourth commandment, 

* Thou shalt honour thy father and thy 
mother, 3 the mother is set upon the same level 
as the father in the eyes of the children. Such 
reverence for women was not revealed by 
oriental * flesh and blood. 3 

The last chapter of the book of Proverbs 
contains a song in praise of the ideal woman ; 
and the portrait of a woman as God wills her 


to be presents these five characteristics : devo- 
tion to her family, joy in work and domestic 
service, mildness towards servants and the 
poor, wisdom, and clemency. Here, surely, is 
an ethical model in the light of which a woman 
may examine her conscience. And a similar 
model for men may be found in the thirty-first 
chapter of the book of Job. The virtues praised 
in a man are moral self-control and conjugal 
fidelity, honesty in business (he was evidently a 
merchant), respect for the rights of servants 
and workers, compassion for the poor. And 
the motive for this is that in the eyes of the 
great Lord in Heaven both employers and 
labourers are equal. These two chapters with 
their models for men and women represent 
the zenith of the ethical teaching of the Old 

4. Even the rules about food, upon which so 
much ridicule has been cast, were to serve as 
maxims of ethical conduct. You must not eat 
the flesh of an animal which has fed upon 
another animal (Exod. xxii, 31). You must 
not defile your soul by eating the flesh of an 
animal that creeps upon the earth (Lev. xi, 44). 
The meaning of these regulations is : You 
must abstain from all that is beastly, from all 
that savours of dust and the serpent. The 


same idea is expressed in the picture of the 
Immaculate Virgin setting her foot upon the 
serpent in the dust. Avoid everything that is 
animal, everything that is pagan ! The 
detailed ordinances concerning what the 
Israelites might or might not eat remind us of 
the words of St. Paul about the c yoke ' of the 
law (Gal. v, i) ; and we wonder whether the 
children of those days learned by heart these 
long lists of meats with the distinction between 
clean and unclean animals. The meaning 
underlying all these food restrictions was : 
With the Gentiles, at whose meals you may find 
the flesh of swine and other unclean animals, 
you must have no common table ; above all 
you must have no social relations with them. 
These laws, therefore, set up a wall of separa- 
tion between Jew and Gentile. Subsequently, 
they became unnecessary, when that wall of 
separation was removed by the revelation made 
to St. Peter (Acts xi, 5-10). 

5. More convincing than the written word 
are the living examples of ethical greatness 
which show forth the moral values of the Old 
Testament. The Patriarch Joseph in the land 
of bondage sees the hour approaching when he 
must depart this life and be gathered to his 
fathers. He had been no usurer. As an 


instrument of Providence, and as a shrewd 
economist, he had stored up in the royal 
barns all the superfluous corn that remained 
during the years of plenty. He had not 
thrown it on to the world-market of the 
Phoenicians. He had reserved it for the lean 
years to come, and thus saved the nation from 
famine. This was not making a corner in 
wheat ; because he had not been trying to 
enrich himself. On the contrary he had 
rendered a national service. About to die, 
therefore, like his father Jacob he gathered his 
sons about his bedside : * After my death/ he 
said, c God will visit you, and will make you 
go up out of this land to the land which He 
swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, i . . 
Carry my bones with you out of this place. 5 
(Gen. 1, 23) The deliverer would one day 
reach the Promised Land, and then his 
shadow would fall upon the tomb of the 
Patriarchs in Mambre. What an ethical 
example we can find in this faith in God's 
word ! Disbelief is darkness ; faith is a bright 
light, which casts its brilliance even over the 
dark hour of death. 

Another great model is Moses, the leader of 
his people, the greatest lawgiver of antiquity* 
learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and 


equipped, moreover, with the miraculous staff 
of Heaven. Three mountains stand as land- 
marks on his life's journey : Horeb, where on 
the lonely heights he received his vocation and 
mission from the burning bush ; Sinai, where 
in silent retreat he held converse with the 
Lord ; Nebo, on whose peak he beheld from 
afar the Promised Land. The great leader 
has been fashioned in marble by Michelangelo ; 
Archbishop Parker has sung his praises in an 
epic poem. Moses was great indeed when he 
raised his miraculous rod and put the Egyptian 
sorcerers to confusion. He was still greater 
when he stormed against the dance round the 
golden calf, and in holy wrath shattered the 
tables of the law on the rocks. But he was 
greatest of all when, before the Lord, he 
declared himself ready to offer his life for his 
rebellious people : Lord, c either forgive them 
this trespass, or if thou do not, strike me out 
of the book that thou hast written * (Exod. 
xxxii, 31). What moral grandeur, what a love 
for his people, a love strong as death, is shown 
in this prayer of the great leader ! 

A third model is Job, the patient Job. His 
inner conflict is described with a masterly hand 
in the book which bears his name. First we 
hear words of silent submission : c If we have 


received good things at the hand of God, why 
should we not receive evil * (ii, 10) ? But then 
shrinking nature rebels, and with a cry of 
impatience he curses the day on which he was 
born. Then follows an alternation between 
hope and despair, between the will to live and 
the wish to die. Finally comes the triumphant 
issue of the struggle : c I know that my 
Redeemer liveth' (xix, 25). Job is not a 
model of patience ready made, he is a model of 
patience achieved with effort ; and precisely 
for that reason he is a model for us. A model 
for us because we, too, must always fight our 
inner conflicts strong in the faith : c My 
Redeemer liveth.' 

c What things soever were written, were 
written for our learning, that through patience 
and the comfort of the Scriptures we might 
have hope ' ; hope which conquers all doubt 
and overcomes all fear. 


While we take up the defence of the Old 
Testament against the charge of utter worth- 
lessness, we have no desire to paint the picture 


of early Jewish morality in overglowing colours. 
Real life, in all religions and in all races, always 
remains far below the ideal of the moral law. 
Beside the many lights in the picture there are 
dark shades, beside truth there is falsehood, 
beside wisdom folly, beside faith unbelief,beside 
high moral values there is much that is tawdry 
and inferior. 

i. The worst charge made against Old 
Testament morality to-day is that it is based 
upon a system of rewards. In recent years the 
fourth commandment has been stigmatized as 
un-German because it proposes a reward for 
its observance : c Honour thy father and thy 
mother, that thou mayest be long-lived upon 
the land which the Lord thy God will give 
thee' (Exod. xx, 12). In the Sportpalast at 
Berlin on November I3th, 1933, the German 
Christians passed the following resolution : 
6 We expect our national Churches to shake 
themselves free of all that is un-German, in 
particular of the Old Testament and its Jewish 
morality of rewards. 3 It is true that the just 
men of the Old Testament expected as a 
reward for their piety to be blessed also with 
earthly goods. They hoped that their barns 
might be filled with corn and their presses run 
over with wine (Prov. iii, 10) ; that the fear 


of God might bring them a crown of honour 
(iv, 8) and a long life (x, 27). But it is not true 
to say that the fourth commandment teaches 
children a mercenary attitude with regard to 
God, that it encourages and consecrates an 
un-German spirit of self-seeking. Undoubtedly 
the ethical ideal demands that we should walk 
unswervingly in the path of virtue and order 
our lives according to the moral law, out of the 
pure love of God and goodness, and without 
any hope or expectation of reward. But to 
such heights only the saints will soar, of whom 
one could pray : c I love thee, Lord, not 
because Thou makest me happy, nor because 
Thou savest me from hell ; but I love thee 
simply for Thine own sake.' If a teacher is 
wise, in explaining the fourth commandment 
he will not begin by proposing to children the 
highest of ethical motives. And even the 
average adult in moments of weakness and 
weariness will doubtless cling to God's promises* 
and hope to be blessed with long life and pros- 
perity. If anyone comes to me and asserts that 
he does good simply for goodness' sake and 
without expecting a reward, then I say to him : 
6 My friend, either you are a saint, one of the 
very few, or else you are a self-deluding hypo- 
crite. ' Are the opponents of the Old Testament 


promises in reality so remote from all desire of 
reward that in return for their services they 
never expect any recognition, any rise in salary, 
any promotion in short, any reward ? When 
Christ was asked by His Apostles, ' What there- 
fore shall we have ? 3 (Matt, xix, 27), He 
answered : c Your reward is great 3 (Luke vi, 
2 3> 35)' * Learn of Me because I am meek and 
humble of heart, and you shall find rest to your 
souls * (Matt, xi, 29). An ethical doctrine 
which is intended for all men must admit 
imperfect motives as well as perfect ones. 

2. Another shade in the Old Testament 
picture is to be found in certain narratives and 
other texts which are ethically scandalous. 
Onan gave his name to a frightful crime. 
Thamar prostituted her honour in the public 
streets. Other passages tell us of the immodesty 
of Cham, of the daughters of Lot, and of Rahab, 
the harlot of Jericho. In the Book of Proverbs, 
Folly appears in the role of a prostitute. In 
the Canticle of Canticles there are scandalous 
passages, and also in the Book of Ezechiel. 

Holy Scripture relates these all too human 
events in the language of the time, in the 
language of a primitive and pastoral people. 
But Scripture never condones immodesty, 
never calls moral what is really immoral. On 


the contrary ; the Scriptures tell us how 
punishment followed hard upon the heels of 
crime, as in the case of Onan ; and the pro- 
phets, who never hesitated to speak the truth 
boldly even to the great ones of the earth, 
pronounced God's sentence upon the royal 
adulterer (2 Kings xii, 10 seq.}. So long as 
God uses men, and not the angels of Heaven, 
as His instruments in the work of salvation, so 
long will the all too human element be 
apparent. None will be so pharisaical as to 
maintain that such crimes have entirely dis- 
appeared among the nations of the New Testa- 
ment- The public life of our people, thank 
God, during the past few months has been 
swept clean with iron brooms of much of its 
immorality; but it would be Jewish pharisaism 
to thank God that we are any better than other 
nations, or that our capitals are gardens of 
virtue in comparison with Sodom and 

But it is true that the complete Bible is not a 
book to be placed in the hands of young 
school children. The Scriptures were written 
for grown-up people. The synagogue of the 
Old Testament withheld the Canticle of 
Canticles and the book of Ezechiel from the 
young, lest the realism of certain passages 


might be a source of danger to hot-blooded 
and passionate temperaments. Instead of the 
complete Bible it is sufficient to set before 
school children a selection of the most beautiful 
of the Bible stories. To remove the Bible 
altogether from the school would be to blot 
out many a star in the children's firmament. 
Hence, in the light of what has been said, we 
cannot approve the statement issued by the 
Bremen teaching authority in 1905 : * The 
ethical outlook of the Old Testament is foreign 
to our times. 5 This may be true of particular 
passages, but as a whole the Old Testament 
remains as the wondrous history of the Divine 
art of teaching, where allowance is made for the 
deficiencies of the pupils, and yet the end is 
achieved notwithstanding. 

3. A still darker shade in the picture, from 
the Christian point of view, are the commina- 
tory Psalms and the hymns of vengeance in the 
Old Testament. Thus the singer of the 68th 
Psalm prays : fi Lord, come to my help * in 
order to slay his enemies. The singer of the 
io8th Psalm desires that his enemy may be 
encompassed on every side by curses as by a 
garment, that they may enter into him as the 
water that he drinks, and lay hold of his bones 
as the oil which he uses for his anointing. In 


the 1 38th Psalm the singer declares in the sight 
of God that he hates his enemies with a perfect 
hatred. These enemies, probably men of the 
type of Heliodorus, desecrators of the Holy 
Place, are regarded by the Psalmist, the 
defender of the Holy Place, as his own personal 
enemies, and in his for God's glory he 
thinks it his duty to pronounce upon them the 
curses which God pronounced upon all that is 
Satanic. In other hymns of vengeance we may 
see traces of the vendetta which was then still 
in vogue. Christ abolished these hymns of 
hate : c You have heard that it was said to 
them of old : An eye for an eye and a tooth for 
a tooth ' (Matt, v, 38). * But I say to you : 
Love your enemies. Do good to them that 
hate you, pray for them that persecute and 
calumniate you/ In the old days the curse 
had gone forth : c Sevenfold vengeance shall 
be taken for Cain ; , but for Lamech seventy 
times sevenfold 9 (Gen. iv, 24). For this 
ancient curse, the first song in the Bible, Christ, 
with an evident play upon the words, substi- 
tuted the new precept to forgive the brother 
that has offended, not seven times only, but 
seventy times seven (Matt, xviii, 22), 

Here is the law of Christian ethics which the 
German spirit finds it hardest to understand* 


The precept to love one's enemies does not 
abrogate the law of self-respect nor the right to 
self-assertion. But in the kingdom of Christ 
besides a power of action there is a power of 
endurance, besides the active virtues there are 
the so-called passive virtues of patience and 
compassion, which involve an even greater 
moral strength and heroism. There is no 
other alternative : either we are disciples of 
Christ or else we relapse into the Judaism of 
antiquity with its hymns of hate. 

4. Then there are the biblical characters 
which present another shade in the picture. 
For the enemies of the Old Testament, Jacob 
the Patriarch is proverbially the literal c Jacob/ 
that is, the thief of his brother's inheritance, 
the betrayer. Aided by his mother, by mis- 
representation he fraudulently obtained from 
his blind father the blessing due to the first- 
born, and thus deprived his brother of his 
birthright. The Scriptures tell us this ; but 
they do not say that it was a good thing. We 
need not attempt to whitewash Jacob, or to 
acquit him of the charge of fraud. Jacob's 
crime is admittedly a dark blot upon his 

But like the rest, this also was written c for 
our learning/ Almighty God is able to write 


straight even on crooked lines. He is able to 
turn even the wickedness of men to good 
account in His plan of salvation. The right of 
the first-born was not merely the right to 
inherit earthly goods and power. Among the 
Patriarchs it was also the right to be the 
vehicle of the promise, and to be an ancestor 
of the Redeemer. The fact that this right was 
transferred from Esau to Jacob is a proof that 
birth, mere flesh and blood, is not the decisive 
factor here. God is free in His dispensation of 
grace, and is able, if He chooses, to appoint 
a younger son to be a forefather of His 

Even the character of the heroic Judith of 
Bethulia is marred by the shadow of deceit. 
Her city is in dire distress, besieged by the 
Assyrians. Unless help comes soon, the city 
with all its inhabitants will be lost, and that, 
according to the existing laws of war, will mean 
death and extinction. So Judith bedecks her- 
self in her finest array, and goes forth from the 
city into the camp of the enemy to slay Holo- 
fernes. She lies to the sentinels at the outposts, 
saying that she wants to go over to the enemy 
as the cause of her people is lost. With a 
further lie she makes her way to the tent of 
Holofernes, gains his confidence by a trick, 


and cuts offhr head (Judith viii-xv). Judith, 
no doubt, behaved in good faith, believing that 
she was allowed to tell a lie in order to save her 
people and her city. But the custodians of 
morality arise and declare in a book which is 
widely read ; c The Old Testament is full of 
Jewish lying and deceit/ Nevertheless, one 
might perhaps ask them the question : If our 
nation and our land were in the same mortal 
peril as Bethulia, would you let your people 
and your fatherland be lost, and with your 
tender conscience still declare : We must never 
tell a lie ? Would you seriously put this 
heroine of the Bible, with her song of divine 
praise (Judith xvi), on a lower level than the 
German Kriemhild, with her hymn of hate ? 
Which of you is without sin, that you may cast 
the first stone at the heroine of Bethulia? 
Notwithstanding her lie, Judith remains a 
model of womanly virtue, not because she lied, 
but because she loved her people and her 

Others have faults to find with the writer of 
the Book of Ecclesiastes. The author of this 
little book Ecclesiastes, or the Preacher 
walked far in the ways of error before he came 
to believe in God and in the life to come. He 
describes these errors of his youth with the 


candour of an Augustine in his Confessions. 
At first, he says, he desired to enjoy life accord- 
ing to the maxims of the Epicureans to eat, 
drink and be merry. And so he wandered far 
from God, declared all things to be vanity 
omnia vanitas and abandoned the faith of his 
youth. At length, however, he recovered his 
faith in God, and to his contemporaries he 
utters the warning : c Remember thy Creator 
in the days of thy youth. . . . God will bring 
all things into judgement 5 (Eccle. xii, i, 13 
seq.}. In spite of his errors Ecclesiastes is a 
model for young men to imitate, not because 
he went astray, but because by good will and 
by the grace of God he found his faith once 
more- And this, too, is written c for our 
learning. 5 The biblical characters are not 
saints ready made. They, like us, felt one law 
in their mind and * another law in their mem- 
bers' (Rom. vii, 23). But they had the nobility 
of soul to acknowledge their faults and to 
be converted from the evil of their ways, and 
precisely for this reason they are ethical models 
for the youth of all time. The power of divine 
grace is perfected in the weakness of human 
nature (2 Cor. xii, 9). 

Christ did not suppress the ethical teaching 
of the Old Testament. In the Gospel He 


elevated the moral standards of the past. He 
proposed higher ethical ideals. He raised the 
edifice of morality to more lofty heights, and 
He gave richer graces to help souls to reach 
them. c Where sin abounded, grace did more 
abound 5 (Rom. v, 20). He adopted the 
Decalogue as the basis of Christian morality, 
but He gave it a new value by making it His 
own law. He synthesized all the laws of anti- 
quity in the one law of love and thereby, as His 
Apostle said (Rom. xiii, 10), fulfilled the whole 
of the law. It is not for us to declare unclean 
that which Christ Himself has declared clean, 
that which He has adopted in His Gospel. 

What we must do is to free ourselves from 
those faults which cast a shadow over the 
ethical teaching of the Old Testament. The 
slogan, c Deliver us from the Old Testament, 5 
may have a meaning for us too. But it must 
mean : Deliver us from the imperfections of 
the Old Testament, from the sin of Cham, 
Onan, and Thamar. e You, brethren, have 
been called unto liberty,* writes the Apostle 
(Gal. v, 13) ; that is, you have cast off the yoke 
of the Old Law ; e only make not liberty an 
occasion to the flesh. 3 Deliverance from the 
Old Testament can only mean for us deliver- 
ance from that pharisaism which says so little 


of the bright side of Old Testament morality 
and so much of its imperfections ; which in its 
own nation sees only the bright side and in 
other nations only the imperfections. Deliver- 
ance from the curses and the hymns of 
vengeance of the Old Testament ! Hatred is 
not a Christian virtue, no matter against 
whom it is directed. The spirit of revenge is a 
relapse into ancient Judaism. Deliverance 
from the deceitfulness of a Jacob and from the 
voluptuousness of an Ecclesiastes ! We must 
free ourselves from the imperfections of the 
Old Testament. 

The passions of nature unredeemed are 
obvious enough in some of the figures of the Old 
Testament, even in some of the ancestors of 
the Redeemer. But the voice of nature 
unredeemed cries only the louder for the 
Saviour on that account. In spite of all, there 
is an ethical grandeur in that longing of pre- 
Christian mankind for the coming of the 
Redeemer, in the tenacity with which they 
clung to hope. The just of the Old Testament 
saw Him not, and yet believed in Him ; with 
their faith and with their longing they went 
forth to meet Him from afar. We, the children 
that are near to Him, must not let them out- 
strip us. During these weeks of Advent, 


therefore, let us prepare our souls and go forth 
to meet the Child of Chris tmas. Blessed are 
they that long for the Saviour, for their longing 
will be fulfilled. Amen. 


When thou reapest the corn of thy land, thou 
shalt not cut down all that is on the face of the 
earth down to the very ground ; nor shalt thou 
gather the ears that remain. 10. Neither shalt 
thou gather the bunches and grapes that fall 
down in thy vineyard, but shalt leave them to 
the poor and the stranger to take. I am the 
Lord your God. n. You shall not steal. 
You shall not lie ; neither shall any man deceive 
his neighbour. 12. Thou shalt not swear falsely 
by My name, nor profane the name of thy God. 
I am the Lord. 13. Thou shalt not calumniate 
thy neighbour, nor oppress him by violence. 
The wages of him that hath been hired by thee, 
shall not abide with thee until the morning. 
14. Thou shalt not speak evil of the deaf, nor 
put a stumbling-block before the blind ; but 
thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, because I am 
the Lord. 15. Thou shalt not do that which is 
unjust, nor judge unjustly. Respect not the 
person of the poor ; nor honour the countenance 
of the mighty. But judge thy neighbour accord- 
4 8 


ing to justice. ... 18. Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself. I am the Lord. 19. Keep 
ye My laws. (Lev. xix, 9-19.) 

Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testa- 
JL ment are a gift from the Spirit of Truth, 
and therefore a treatise of religious instruction. 
The Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament 
are a gift from the Spirit of Holiness and there- 
fore a book of ethical doctrine. The Sacred 
Scriptures of the Old Testament are a gift from 
the Spirit of Justice and Love and therefore 
they teach the basic truths of the social order. 
On the first Sunday of Advent we studied the 
religious values of the Old Testament, on the 
second Sunday its ethical values, and to-day, 
the third Sunday, we intend to examine the 
social values of these sacred books. By c social * 
I mean all that pertains to the life of men in 
common, all that contributes to social life, all 
that concerns care for the poor, the status of 
the individual in family and state, the rights 
of labour, the public administration of justice, 
and political economy. 

For the purposes of our subject two groups 
of books are especially to be considered : the 
Pentateuch, which contains the text of the laws, 
and the books of the Prophets, which contain 


the explanation of these laws and provide for 
their observance. I follow the sequence of 
ideas in the extract which I have just read to 
you from the book of Leviticus. 

Is this pulpit the place for a sermon on the 
laws and economics of ancient Judaism ? It is ; 
because the Holy Ghost, the fiery tongues of the 
Gospel, spoke also through the prophets of the 
Old Testament. In that ancient theocracy the 
laws of the State were also the laws of God. 
The one book, the Mosaic Thorah, was at the 
same time a religious catechism and a code of 
civil law. The priests were at the same time 
ministers of the sanctuary and public law 
officials. The prophets were simultaneously 
guardians of the religious and moral order and 
architects of the social order. I am not going 
to give you an academic lecture on these 
questions. To-day again the sermon will be 
one which has practical applications for per- 
sonal life. May the Holy Ghost, who spoke 
through the prophets, enlighten our minds and 
hearts ! 


The same God who in the Gospel had com- 
passion on the multitude because it had nothing 


to eat, in earlier times had made special laws 
for the protection of the poor : 6 When thou 
reapest the corn of thy land, thou shalt not cut 
down all that is on the face of the earth to the 
very ground ; nor shalt thou gather the ears 
that remain. Neither shalt thou gather the 
bunches and grapes that fall down in thy vine- 
yard, but shalt leave them to the poor and the 
strangers to take. 3 In the fifth book of the 
Pentateuch we find the same law given in 
nearly the same words (Deut. xxiv, 19-22). So 
the owner of private property must not be 
greedy and miserly ; he must not collect the 
last ears from the cornfield nor the last grapes 
from his vineyard, nor the last olive from his 
olive trees ; he must leave what remains for 
the poor and the stranger. This law in its 
popular and homely form must have served as 
an education for the young. We can well 
imagine that at every harvest parents reminded 
their children of the rights of the poor and the 

Another law requires tithes for the poor 
every three years. Every third year all holders 
of land, great or small, must set before their 
doors a tenth part of the harvest for the 
Levites, who owned no property, and also for 
the widows and orphans (Deut. xiv, 28). 


Every seventh year, the so-called * year of rest 
to the land/ anything that grew of itself was 
to be left for servants and labourers and 
strangers (Lev. xxv, 4-7). To many it may 
come as news that the law : e Thou shalt love 
thy neighbour as thyself/ is found in the 
Mosaic Pentateuch before it appears in the 
Gospel (Lev. xix, 18). And in quite early 
days we hear the precept to help others as 
readily as possible (Prov. iii, 28) and with a 
cheerful countenace : * Thou shalt not harden 
thy heart, nor close thy hand 5 from thy needy 
brother (Deut. xv, 7). 

Similarly the liturgy of the Old Testament 
contains popular teaching concerning the 
rights of the poor. On the fortieth day after 
childbirth young mothers brought their first- 
born into the Temple, and had to make an 
offering of one lamb and two doves. If they 
were too poor to offer the lamb, then the two 
doves sufficed (Lev. xii, 6-8). If a man or 
woman had to make a sin-offering, a lamb or a 
goat likewise was required, or if their economic 
condition did not allow of this, a pair of doves 
(Lev. v, 6). In the case of the extremely poor 
the law was content with a single wild dove, 
which might be caught in the fields, or even 
with a handful of meal, which was thrown on 


the sacrificial fire (Lev. v, 1 1). The poor man 
who possessed no cattle was not to be excluded 
from the Temple or from the benefits of the 
sacrifice simply because he was poor. This 
is the meaning of the poor laws as we find 
them in the liturgy. The gentleness and 
considerateness of the poor laws of ancient 
Judaism have remained a valuable model for 
later times. 


The second idea in our extract from the 
Pentateuch introduces in its broad outlines the 
Private Law of the Old Testament. 

i. In the laws, c You shall not steal, nor lie, 
nor deceive your neighbour/ as already in the 
Decalogue itself, the right of private property 
that mighty pillar of the social order is 
recognized by God and sealed with His seal. 
The times are not far distant when we used to 
hear the cry in Communistic circles : c Private 
property is a theft from the people/ Fortu- 
nately these voices are now silenced. When 
the land of Chanaan was divided and distri- 
buted among the people of Israel, each tribe, 
with the exception of the priestly tribe of Levi, 
received a certain portion of land which in its 


turn was divided among the families of the 
tribe. The economic distribution of the Holy 
Land had a religious significance ; for with 
the portion of land assigned to it each family 
received a guarantee that it should also have a 
portion in the kingdom of the Anointed. 
Economic ideas and religious ideas were always 

2. The law and the prophets not only 
ensured that in public life the rights of God 
should be observed, they also took measures to 
protect the rights of men. They vindicated 
man's dignity, his right to honour and liberty, 
and the equality of all men without fear or 
favour. Where there is respect for the rights 
of God, there also you will find respect for the 
rights of men. The individual retains his own 
responsibility as against his family. Closely 
though he is bound to his family for weal or 
woe, yet the Mosaic iaw insists upon his own 
personal responsibility : c The fathers shall not 
be put to death for the children, nor the 
children for the fathers ; but everyone shall 
die for his own sin 5 (Deut. xxiv, 16)' The 
prophets re-enacted and declared the same 
law : * The son shall not bear the iniquity of 
the father, and the father shall not bear the 
iniquity of the son ' (Ezech, xviii, 20). The 


Gospel emphasizes this personal responsibility 
even more strongly : the individual must 
suffer even the enmity of his family for the sake 
of Christ (Matt, x, 35 seq.). 

The individual retains his personal freedom 
as against the masses. He has the right to 
resist the dictation of the majority : fi Thou 
shalt not follow the multitude to do evil ; 
neither shalt thou yield in judgement to the 
opinion of the most part. 5 These noble words 
are the proto-gospel of personal liberty. 
Liberty may be abused, as when it serves as a 
cloak for malice (i Pet. ii, 16) ; but personal 
freedom is also a sacred right. 

The individual retains his own rights as 
against the State. Among the surrounding 
nations in the time of the prophets, the only 
form of government known was that of the 
absolute State, in which the individual was 
engulfed without leaving a trace, like a drop 
of water in the ocean. So it was with the 
Pharaohs in Egypt and among the Assyrians 
in the East. The Private Law of Moses did 
not exempt the individual from solidarity 
with the State, nor did it conflict with the 
fundamental law, that the right of the State 
prevails over that of the individual. But the 
individual must not be deprived of his own 


dignity, his own rights or his own property, in 
order that the rights of the State may be main- 
tained. The individual must be subordinated 
to State government, but he must not be 
reduced to a nonentity or treated as a slave 
without rights of his own. The Bible tells the 
story of King Achab who, in order to round off 
his own estate, wanted to acquire the vineyard 
of a small farmer called Nabob. But Nabob 
objected to parting with the inheritance of his 
fathers. Jezabel, that fiend in human form, 
bore false witness against him, and after a short 
trial Nabob was stoned to death and his vine- 
yard confiscated. This violation of man's 
natural rights was severely punished by God 
(3 Kings xxi, 1-19). 

3. Outside the sphere of man's social rights 
properly so called, besides his right not to be 
deceived or defrauded, there is a wider sphere 
of rights and obligations which are not set 
down on the tables of the Mosaic Law, but 
are written in the heart of man. Our extract 
from the Mosaic code mentions two very signi- 
ficant examples : * Thou shalt not speak evil of 
the deaf, nor put a stumbling-block before the 
blind ; but thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, 
because I am the Lord. 5 The deaf man may 
not hear your curse ; but God has heard it. 


The blind man may not see the stone in his 
path ; but the Lord has seen your wickedness. 
Hence the added words : e Thou shalt fear 
the Lord thy God. 5 The lawgiver cannot 
possibly legislate for every case of ethical con- 
duct. It is enough if from examples such as 
these men can learn to have that delicate con- 
sideration for one another, that mutual tact, 
which is essential for the life of men in society. 



The third point in our extract from the 
Mosaic code deals with the rights of labour. 
* The wages of him that hath been hired by 
thee shall not abide with thee until the 
morning/ Like a beacon these words on the 
rights of labour send out their light from the 
mountain of biblical antiquity. In this case, 
too, the prophets confirm the law of the 
Pentateuch : * Woe to him that will oppress 
his friend without cause and will not pay him 
his wages * (Jer. xxii, 13). In an age and at a 
stage of civilization in which labour was 
everywhere else branded with the mark of 
slavery, the Book of books recognizes the 
ethical value of labour. The same law which 


set aside the Sabbath as a day of rest, also 
pronounced labour sacred and required that 
everyone, not only the slave, should as far as 
possible earn his livelihood by his own labour, 
receive the fruits of his own work (Ps. cxxvii, 2), 
and not live on the bread of the pauper and the 
alms of charity. Not for ever would men's daily 
bread fall like snow from Heaven as the manna 
fell in the desert. Not everywhere would the 
pot of meal be miraculously filled as it was for 
the widow of Sarepta. 

It is one of the Bible's achievements in the 
history of civilization to have broken, at least 
fundamentally, with slavery and to have 
insisted that workers should receive their just 
wage. The wages of him that hath been 
hired by thee shall not abide with thee until 
the morning. 9 Elsewhere (Deut. xxiv, 14) the 
law required that the payment should not be 
delayed, and we find a similar precept in the 
book of Tobias (iv, 15) : c If any man hath 
done any work for thee, immediately pay him 
his hire ; and let not the wages of thy hired 
stay with thee at all/ The Catechism speaks 
the language of the Bible when it numbers the 
sin of depriving the labourer of his hire among 
those that cry to Heaven for vengeance. 
To-day this law of the Bible, that daily wage- 


earners should be paid their hire on the day 
itself, should be extended by us to those strug- 
gling trades and professions which often have 
so long to wait for the settlement of their 


i . Our extract also deals with the administra- 
tion of justice and herein lies a further con- 
tribution of the Old Testament to the social 
order. * Thou shalt not do that which is 
unjust, nor judge unjustly. Respect not the 
person of the poor, nor honour the countenance 
of the mighty ; but judge thy neighbour 
according to justice. 3 In their diatribes the 
prophets had many a hard word for violations 
of the law of God, for moral corruption, 
especially in the great cities/for voluptuousness 
and prodigality, for avarice and usury, for the 
exploitation of the poor. But they were loudest 
in their condemnation when impartiality was 
prostituted in the public administration of 
justice, when the poor were found guilty 
because of their poverty and the mighty 
acquitted because of their riches, when inno- 
cent blood was shed and when the judicial 


acquittal was bought with bribes from the 
corrupt judge. For four classes especially is 
justice demanded ; for the poor, for the 
stranger, for the widow and for the orphan, 
who otherwise had none to protect them. 
And it was in fact to the poor and the needy 
that the prophets primarily extended their 
protection. Even kings and priests were not 
immune from their public condemnation : I 
will have none of your offerings, says *he Lord, 
unless you seek justice, relieve the oppressed 
and protect the rights of orphans (Is. i, 10-17). 

2. Not only in the public administration of 
the law but in private business and commercial 
dealings, too, the Mosaic law and its inter- 
preters require that there should be justice 
and equity. *A deceitful balance is an 
abomination before the Lord * (Prov. xi, i ; 
xvi, ii ; xx, 23). c Let the balance be just 
and the weights equal, the bushel just and the 
sextary equal 5 (Lev. xix, 36). c Cursed be he 
that removeth his neighbour's landmarks * in 
order to extend his own estate (Deut. xxvii, 1 7) . 

3. The penal code of the Bible contains 
many penalties which to our Christian and 
modern sensibilities appear very harsh. But 
now that the penal code of Hammurabi a 
Babylonian king of the third millennium before 


Christ and a contemporary of Abraham 
written in cuneiform characters on a block of 
stone, has been unearthed from the sand of 
the desert, we are in a position to compare the 
code of the ancient Jews with a pagan code of 
the same period. The ancient Babylonian 
code contains penalties which are blood- 
curdling in their ferocity : False witness in a 
court of justice and theft are punished with 
death (g. and 8). Undutiful children have 
their tongues cut out, and other frightful 
mutilations are practised besides (192-195). 
The landlady who lets her tavern as a meeting- 
place to anarchists forfeits her life (108 seq.}. 
The doctor who bungles an operation has his 
hand chopped off (218). In such penalties 
the tiger-claws of paganism can be seen. The 
penal code of the early Bible has not lost all 
traces of the primitive stage of civilization, but 
as compared with its Babylonian counterpart 
it stands on an essentially higher level. Apart 
from the one instance of a particularly serious 
crime, mutilations are forbidden. The one 
remaining death-penalty of stoning, which to us 
appears at first sight barbaric, was reserved 
only for the most heinous crimes, such as 
blasphemy, the desecration of the Sabbath, or 
adultery. Stoning is the only death-penalty 


which is carried out with the co-operation of the 
whole community and not by a single execu- 
tioner. From the biblical point of view such 
crimes as we have mentioned rested like a stain 
of blood upon the whole nation, and therefore 
the whole nation must take a part in washing 
it away. The penal code of the early Bible 
did not rise to the sublime heights of the Gospel, 
but it did not sink to the depths of paganism. 


In connection with the economics of the 
early Bible three laws may be considered. 
First, the law against the unjust accumulation 
of landed property. The great Isaias, the 
classic among the Prophets, utters a terrible 
curse against those wreckers who greedily 
exploit economic distress and buy up all the 
small holdings in their neighbourhood. Their 
sin is one that cries to Heaven : c Woe to you 
that join house to house and lay field to field, 
even to the end of the place. Shall you alone 
dwell in the midst of the earth ? These things 
are in my ears, saith the Lord of hosts 5 
(Is. v, 8).^ This curse upon the usurious 
accumulation of land has an economic motive : 
such a process would lead in time to an 


intolerable capitalism on the one hand, and to 
an intolerable impoverishment of the masses 
on the other. But there is a deeper reason 
still, a religious one : with their holding in the 
Promised Land, however small it might be, 
families lost also their guarantee of a portion 
in the kingdom of the Anointed in the fullness 
of time. 

A second law protected farmers from being 
overloaded with debt. In every seventh year, 
the so-called year of pardon, all debts became 
null and void, all loans expired, and all those 
who in the meantime had been forced by their 
poverty to sell themselves as slaves became free 
men once more (Deut. xv, 1-12). In every 
fiftieth year, the so-called jubilee-year, all land 
which had been alienated or mortgaged 
through poverty or need became once more 
the property of its hereditary owners (Lev. 
xxv, 23-31). By this system families were 
saved from being overwhelmed with debt, and 
a more economic settlement was provided for. 
The idea underlying this measure was one of 
profound social importance, although often it 
did not work out in practice. Nehemias 
enforced the measure after the Captivity, 
compelling usurers to restore mortgaged land 
and house property to the hereditary owners 


(2 Esd. v, 1-12). In our own Bavaria, farms 
were sold after the war which had remained 
in the same family for centuries. The sons had 
fallen in the war, the aged parents were unable 
to carry on alone, and thus the whole estate 
fell into the hands of some stranger who, 
during the war, had not been impoverished. 
According to the Mosaic law it would have 
been impossible to deprive of their hereditary 
property families whose sons had given their 
lives for their country. 

The third economic law is directed against 
usury. In the Pentateuch (Deut. xxiii, 20) it 
was forbidden to demand interest on a loan 
made to a needy compatriot. The prophets 
called such interest usury : * To thy brother 
thou shalt lend what he wanteth, without 
usury. 5 ' It is in the spirit of this law that the 
singer of the i4th Psalm, standing at the door 
of the temple, addresses those who enter : * He 
that puts out his money to usury * shall not 
come before the eyes of the Lord. On loans 
made to foreign merchants interest might be 
demanded, because loans made to the 
Phoenician merchant were made for purposes 
of business, and not to relieve his distress. 
It is difficult to say how far the law forbidding 
usury among the Jews themselves was actually 


observed. In any case, we have here again an 
idea of the profoundest social importance in 
biblical economics. Belonging to the same 
period and the same stage of civilization, 
Babylonian promissory notes and agreements 
written in cuneiform characters have been 
discovered, in which interest at the rate of 
30 per cent is demanded. In the Bible the 
usurious dealer in corn is accursed (Prov. 
xi, 26) and the demanding of excessive interest 
is forbidden ; in Babel the usurer and the 
exploiter of the needy are allowed full sway. 


Values of the social order, such as the rights 
of the poor, the rights of the individual, the 
rights of labour, the administration of justice, 
political economy, are for the Sacred Scrip- 
tures also values of the religious order, laws 
of the Lord. 5 Thus in our extract we hear 
again and again the phrase c I am the Lord/ 
and concerning economic prescriptions we 
hear the warning : c Keep My laws/ You 
shall leave that which remains on the field for 
the poor, for the Lord has given you this fertile 
land and its harvest ! You shall admit the 


poor to eat at table with you, for you are your- 
selves boarders at God's table ! (Is. Iviii, 7-9). 
Everywhere we find the common belief in God 
as founding the social relation between rich 
and poor : c The rich and the poor have met 
one another ; the Lord is the maker of them 
both * (Prov. xxii, 2). You shall respect the 
rights of the worker, for God who made the 
worker made the employer too (Job. xxxi, 13) ! 
You must regard an oath, that firm support 
upon which rests the administration of all 
justice, as a serious matter, for it is taken in the 
name of God, and perjury is a profanation of 
His name (Lev. xix, 12) ! You must see that 
the stranger receives justice, for you were once 
the slaves of the Egyptians in a strange land 
(Deut. xxiv, 17) ! Thus again and again we 
find the laws of social order founded upon 
religious conceptions. 

According to the sacred books apostasy 
from God is the ultimate source of social dis- 
order ; and this in turn can be remedied only 
by conversion to Him. The social and the 
economic order are best regulated when they 
are founded on the firm rock of the ten com- 
mandments. Humanity, the brotherhood of 
mankind of which we hear so much nowadays, 
is only what its name implies when it is asso- 


ciated with belief in God, and not divorced from 
religion, still less when it is invoked as a substi- 
tute for religion. The cradle of humanity is 
not in Greece, it is in Palestine. The rights of 
men will not be respected where there is no 
respect for the rights of God. Belief in man's 
word and human loyalty will best flourish 
where belief in God's word and loyalty to Him 
are paramount. The natural order is best 
secured against unnatural disorder where the 
supernatural order of revelation is recognized 
by faith. Social order and religious order, 
economic order and moral order are indis- 
solubly connected with each other. 

We do not want to re-establish the Mosaic 
mode of life, nor the Mosaic legislation. It is 
not oujr wish to reform the modern penal code 
and modern economic laws according to the 
Mosaic model. Even the Gospel * fulfilled * 
the social laws and measures of pre-Christian 
Judaism, and translated them into more 
sublime formulas. Marriage, for example, 
of all institutions in the social life of a nation 
the most social, was restored by Christ to its 
primitive purity and dignity. To the Patri- 
archs of the Old Testament it was permitted 
* by reason of the hardness of their hearts 5 to 
divorce the wife of their first choice and to take 


another. But * I say to you : Whosoever shall 
put away his wife and marry another, com- 
mitteth fornication. 5 (Matt, xix, 3-9 ; Mark 
x, 2-12). The conception of fidelity in the 
Gospel received a deeper meaning and a higher 
sanctity, and here, too, the law of progress in 
the kingdom of God is verified. Hence the 
disciples of the Gospel must not relapse into the 
marriage laws of Jewish times. To divorce a 
legitimately married wife is to relapse into the 
Mosaic marriage laws. 

We do not want to re-establish the Mosaic 
mode of life, nor the Mosaic legislation. But 
we must acknowledge that the sacred Scrip- 
tures of the Old Testament have contributed 
material of great permanent value for the 
construction of the social order for all time- 
Social activity has assumed a different form in 
matters of detail, for example in legislation for 
the poor or in the administration of justice, 
but its' fundamental ideas are these universal 
values for civilization which come to us as a 
priceless heritage from the sacred books of pre- 
Christian Judaism. This wealth of thought is 
so unique among the civilized nations of 
antiquity that we are bound to say : People 
of Israel, this 'did not grow in your garden of 
your own planting. This condemnation of 


usurious land-grabbing, this war against the 
oppression of the farmer by debt, this prohi- 
bition of usury, is not the product of your spirit. 
Those who do not believe in inspiration, who 
do not regard these books as the word of God 
and as divine revelation, must confess that the 
people of Israel is a super-people in the history 
of the world. There is no other alternative. 
Either we believe in the inspiration of the 
sacred books, or else we must say to the Jewish 
people : * You are the cleverest people in the 
world's history. 5 We believe in inspiration. 
We believe that the Spirit of God has spoken 
to men through the mouth of His chosen 
prophets. And in this belief we call upon the 
German people once again : c Guard what 
you have !-* Let no man rob you of your 
priceless inheritance of the sacred books, and 
do not allow biblical instruction to be banned 
in our German schools, and our children thus 
to suffer unjust and grievous loss ! Amen. 


e God, who at sundry times and In divers manners 
spoke in times past to the fathers by the 
prophets, last of all in these days hath spoken 
to us by His Son. 5 (From the third Mass of 
Christmas. Heb. i, i seq.) 

feast of Christmas and its Eve are 
J_ pervaded by a spirit of holy joy. We 
think of the happy children standing under 
the Christmas tree with beaming eyes and 
fluttering hearts. We think of the unhappy 
Victims of the economic distress, weeping silent 
tears at the memory of the care-free days of 
their youth. We think of those who are in 
prison, whose lives are embittered, but whose 
souls on this holy night are more easily than 
usual opened to a word of kindness. 

The holy joy of Christmas may be spoiled 
by three classes of people. First there are the 
superficial ones, those who in the midst of 



Christmas trees, Christmas presents, and the 
distractions of Christmas celebrations have 
forgotten the most important thing of all the 
Holy Child whose feast it is. Christmas festivi- 
ties without faith in the Infant Jesus are the 
shell without the kernel. Then there are those 
who deny Christ, who have reduced the 
mystery of Christmas to a myth and a fable, 
and who do not accept the Gospel story. The 
Gospel of the new-born Son of the Virgin is 
not a fable out of the Arabian Nights ; it 
is a mysterious but historical fact attested by 
the historical sources of the gospels. Finally, 
there are those childish, pious souls whether 
they wear the nun's veil or not who speak and 
sing in sugary tones of the little Jesus and the 
little angels, and mingle Gospel and fable 
together. By all means let us speak to children 
in their own language, and even c become as, 
little children * ourselves ; but strong meat is 
for the perfect ' (Heb. v, 13 seq.), that is, for 
the fully grown. Christmas must be a feast 
for grown men, and not only for children, 
and it must not belie the manly character of 
the Christian religion. 

c I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First 
and the Last, the Beginning and the End, 
saith the Lord God, 5 in the first and last 


chapters of the Apocalypse (i, 8 ; xxi, 6 ; 
xxii, 1 3) . The works of God are not left half- 
finished. If the Lord wrote the letter *A* in His 
work of salvation, if He made a beginning by 
His revelation in the Old Testament, then He 
brings His work to completion, even to the 
letter c Z 9 or according to the Greek alphabet 
to the letter Omega by the revelation of the 
New Covenant. c God, who at sundry times and 
in divers manners spoke in times past to the 
fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days 
hath spoken to us by His Son. 9 Christ is the * end 
of the law * (Rom. x, 4), the Omega to which 
the promises of the Old Covenant are the 
preparation. Christ is also the Alpha, in 
which the Redemption of the New Covenant 
has its source and origin. Christ closes the 
doors of the Temple of the Old Testament and 
opens the gates of the new Kingdom of God. 
He dismisses the prophets and calls His 
Apostles. Christ is the personal fulfilment and 
the keystone of the Old Covenant, the founder 
and the corner-stone of the New Covenant, 
the personal bridge between Judaism and 



Christ is the fulfilment of the Old Covenant. 
In a messianic prophecy (Gen. xlix, 26) he is 
hailed from afar as c the desire of the ever- 
lasting hills.' From the tents of the Patriarchs, 
those hills on the horizon of antiquity, from the 
scrolls of the prophets, fropa the messianic 
types, from the Psalms, from the whole liturgy 
of the early Bible comes a greeting and a 
foreshadowing of the Lord's Anointed. From 
the third to the sixth hour, from the sixth hour 
to the ninth the cry of longing becomes louder 
still. And at the eleventh hour a mood lay 
over the Promised Land rather like that of the 
whole of created nature, when it seems to hold 
its breath as the red of dawn appears over the 
eastern mountains with the rising of the sun. 
When the last of the prophets, John the Pre- 
cursor, preached his Advent sermons on the 
banks of Jordan, all the people went forth to 
hear him, and the authorities asked him the 
official question : ' Art thou He that art to 
come, or look we for another' (Luke vii, 19 
seq.) ? And when the first Apostles were 
called, they ran one to another with the 
joyous news : * We have found Him of whom 


Moses in the law and the prophets did write * 
(John i, 45). Striking proofs, these, of the 
intensity with which men longed for the 
expected Saviour. The prophet Isaias makes 
the Messias say : * The Spirit of the Lord is 
upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me. 
He hath sent me to preach to the meek, to 
heal the contrite of heart, and to preach a 
release to the captives and deliverance to them 
that are shut up ; to proclaim the acceptable 
year of the Lord 9 (Is. Ixi, 1-3). In the fullness 
of time Jesus read out *this passage in the 
synagogue of His own village ; then He handed 
back the scroll and said : c This day is fulfilled 
this scripture in your ears 5 (Luke iv, 16-21). 
With these words He publicly announced : I 
am the fulfilment, the Omega of the messianic 

During those centuries of expectation the 
question may often have been raised : Where 
does He tarry, and why does He keep us 
waiting so long ? Why was the Saviour born 
so late ? c My Father worketh until now " 
(John v, 17). In the execution of the divine 
plan of salvation there is no interruption ; but 
there is no precipitation either. There is no 
pause ; but there is no sudden haste. Man, 
whose span of life is short, wants to see the out- 


come, and asks impatiently : * Lord God, why 
art Thou so slow ? 5 -The Eternal, with whom 
a thousand years are as one day, fixes His eyes 
upon Bethlehem, and on the road to Bethlehem 
He paces out the milestones by centuries. He 
will only create man when the sun and the 
stars are shining and the whole of creation is 
made habitable and ready to receive man, 
who is to be its king. The God-man will be 
born only when after a long Advent the lights 
of the messianic prophecies are burning, and 
the whole world is ready to receive the Saviour, 
who is its King. Ask no more, why the Saviour 
was born so late ! He was not only to be the 
dew from Heaven and a gift from above, He 
was also to be * the fruit of the earth 5 (Is. iv, 2) 
and * to bud forth 5 from the earth (Is. xlv, 8). 
Therefore, he was not to fly swiftly as an 
arrow down to the earth, He was to bud forth 
slowly from the earth like a plant. Moreover, 
pagan humanity must first drink the cup of 
estrangement from God to its bitterest dregs. 
It must first, in the search for its soul's content- 
ment, beg at every door on earth, and like the 
prodigal son learn by experience : for us 
men there can be no salvation in ourselves. 
The pagan world had wandered far astray 
from its Creator. Infinite mercy would bring 


it back and lead it by slow and gentle guidance 
to the arms of God. God's way of teaching 
mankind needed time. That is why the 
Saviour of the world was born so late. 

Christ is the redemption of the Old 
Covenant. Men are able even after their 
death to prolong their activity for a while in 
their children or their schools, in their books 
and their works. Perhaps even a monument to 
their memory may for a long time cast its 
shadow on some strip of earth. But never has 
a man been heralded for centuries before his 
birth, as the child of Bethlehem was heralded 
by the prophets. Some men have been 
honoured in history by the name of Great ; 
but not even a cock-crow has foretold their 
birth. The Child of Bethlehem, the greatest of 
the great, was greeted for centuries before His 
birth by the welcome of the messianic pro- 
phecies. This fact alone is a proof of the 
Divinity of Emmanuel; it is itself a piece of the 
Gospel, a unique privilege, an indication that 
Christ is the one Superman of history. He is 
superhuman because millenniums after His 
death the traces of His blessings cannot disap- 
pear. Superhuman because long before His 
birth as the c angel of the covenant ' He was 
guiding the chosen people, and Himself 


decided in what people and of what mother He 
should be born. 

Christ is the Saviour of the world in the 
widest sense of the word ; He is the Redeemer 
for every world, for pre-Christian as well as for 
post-Christian humanity. c It hath well pleased 
the Father through ffim to reconcile all things 
to Himself, making peace through the blood 
of His cross, both as to the things that are on 
earth and the things that are in heaven " (Col. i, 
1 9 seq.) . Our vision would be short-sighted and 
incomplete if we thought only of the period 
after Christ. The Child in His cradle stretches 
out His arms to all, as He did later on the Cross, 
as if to say : 6 For you all.' The process of 
historical redemption is truly a procession : 
in the middle is the Saviour Himself. Pre- 
Christian humanity marches before Him with 
the Advent hymn : c To-morrow we shall see 
the glory of God.' The post-Christian world 
follows after Him with the Christmas hymn : 
e We have seen His glory.' The history of the 
world is not merely a world-judgement, it is 
also, and much more, a world-redemption. 
The graces of the pre-Christian period also are 
due to the world-Redeemer. It may be asked : 
How can the fruit of a tree be plucked before 
the tree itself is planted ? I answer : If the 


Mother of God fifty or sixty years before the 
death of Christ was preserved immune from 
original sin and filled with grace in view of the 
future redeeming death of her Son, then so 
also the men of the Old Covenant could like- 
wise draw from the waters of redemption 500 
or even 5000 years earlier, though they first 
welled up at the foot of the Cross. If the Pre- 
cursor of Christ could be sanctified in the 
womb of his mother before the death of Christ, 
then the redeeming love of God could give 
to other men also an advance payment from 
the grace of the Cross. The whole bridal 
equipment of the people of Israel, her election, 
her promises, her law and the other sacred 
books, her liturgy and the marvels of her 
history, all this was a loan from the Cross of 
Christ a loan, I say, using the term by way of 
a similitude. 

It has also been asked : Why did God not 
allow the human race to become extinct after 
the sin of Adam ? If men were now to be 
born only to inherit the curse of original sin : 
labour among thistles and thorns, motherhood 
amidst the pangs of travail, the constant 
attacks of the lurking serpent ; would it not 
have been an easier lot, would it not even have 
been a just redemption for mankind, if it had 


died out after original sin ? To-day the Crib 
and the Gross give us the answer : No, it 
would not have been better. The children of 
Adam were to live on, not merely that they 
might inherit the curse of original sin and of 
Satan, but rather that they might receive the 
blessing of Redemption, the blessing of Satan's 
conqueror. How great is our Redeemer when 
we see Him in this light : as world-Redeemer, 
as the Alpha and Omega of history, the manna 
of the Old Covenant, the Host of the New. 


Notwithstanding all the guidance of divine 
grace Israel did not know the time of her 
visitation. Emmanuel came to His own, yet 
His own would not receive Him. The sign, 
which was to stand as the ensign of the mes- 
sianic King for the people (Is. xi, 10), became 
a sign which was contradicted (Luke ii, 34). 
In the course of His life it became clearer and 
clearer that only a * tithing " would remain for 
the new kingdom (Is. vi, 13), the small band 
of Apostles and other disciples. The great 
majority of the people rejected the Messias 
with the cry : e His blood be upon us and 
upon our children 3 (Matt, xxvii, 25). Then 


the Lord knew that He could not put new wine 
into old bottles. Weeping over the city of 
Jerusalem, and shaken to the depths of His 
soul. He took leave of the prophets of the Old 
Covenant, and in the chalice of His blood 
founded the New Covenant that was to endure 
for ever (Luke xxii, 20). Then He, the Omega 
of pre-Christian Judaism, became the Alpha of 
post-Jewish Christianity. Then He, the stone 
which the builders of the Old Covenant had 
rejected, became the corner-stone of the New 
(Ps. cxvii, 22). Both in the Epistle of St. 
Paul to the Ephesians (ii, 20) and in the 
liturgical prayers for the consecration of a 
church Christ is called the corner-stone, which 
consolidates the structure of the wall. 

In the Gospel of the Infancy of Christ the 
fundamental laws of the new kingdom of God 
are already revealed. Emmanuel was born as 
a little child in order to explain the mystery of 
man's natural growth to manhood ; to make 
manifest His blood-relationship with the chil- 
dren of the promise ; to reveal God's love for 
men in the trustful and winning countenance of 
a child ; and also in order to reveal for 
Christendom the law of little beginnings. 
* God hath chosen the weak things * (i Cor. 
i, 27) ; and the greater the work that God has 


in mind, the smaller and the more hidden will 
be its beginnings. With a small band of 
Apostles the Almighty won the kingdoms of 
the ancient world for the Gross. The stone 
out of the mountain cast headlong the colossal 
statue with the feet of iron (Dan. ii, 34). With 
a few drops of water the miracle of baptism is 
worked, and with a tiny host the miracle of the 
Eucharist. Mary and Joseph must indeed have 
had great faith to recognize in that little child 
their infinite God, the splendour of the Father, 
the King of glory. 

Emmanuel was born as a child, to reveal the 
law of development in the new kingdom. As 
He grew from babyhood to childhood, from 
childhood to adolescence, from adolescence to 
manhood, no more quickly than the sons of 
men are wont to do; as He developed from 
childish utterance to human speech, from being 
carried in His mother's arms to walking on His 
own feet; so should His kingdom- on earth grow, 
spreading by a gradual process from the little 
land of Chanaan over the whole earth, after the 
likeness of the mustard tree that spreads its 
branches wider and wider, after the likeness of 
a leaven that inwardly and gradually renews 
the souls of men. The treasures of re- 
vealed truth were to become known to man 


by degrees, not all at once. Likewise in the 
Child of Bethlehem we see revealed the law of 
tranquil development : * That it might be 
fulfilled which was spoken by Isaias the pro- 
phet, saying : My servant . . . shall not 
contend nor cry out ; neither shall any man 
hear his voice in the streets * (Is. xlii, i seq. : 
Matt, xii, 17-19). Crying in the market- 
place and obtrusive propaganda are not 
according to the Spirit of Christ. At times the 
tranquillity is so great that we think the mills 
of God are standing still. 

Emmanuel was born as a poor little child, 
to reveal the law of unostentatious develop- 
ment. As the son of a Mother who had no roof 
to her head, He was born, so to speak, on the 
streets, and yet he did not clench his little fists 
and utter curses. Such a gospel is not revealed 
by flesh and blood. Flesh and blood would 
certainly have had him enter the world as a 
rich king with great parade and show, not 
as a poor child. This was an elementary law 
for Christendom, in contrast to pre-Christian 
Judaism which over-emphasized its hopes of 
earthly prosperity. Christianity was to set the 
highest store by the supernatural treasures of 
the kingdom of Christ. 

Christ is the absolute Alpha of the New 


Covenant. In the Gospel of His public life 
the fundamental truths of Christianity for all 
time are revealed. The truth of truths, that of 
the Divinity of Christ, shines out from every 
page of the Gospel ; from His words and from 
His miracles, from His ethical teaching and 
from the ethical greatness of His personality. 
He and the Father are one. He who sees Him 
sees the Father also. His disciples have seen 
His glory, c the glory as of the only-begotten of 
the Father * (John i, 14). He commands the 
tempest, and creation recognizes Him : Thou 
art the Christ, the Son of the living God. He 
casts out devils, and the underworld recognizes 
Him : Thou art the Christ, the Son of the 
living God. He heals the sick, he calls the dead 
to life, and death recognizes Him : Thou art 
the Christ, the Son of the living God. Where 
belief in the divine nature of the Anointed is 
abandoned or attenuated, there can be no 
question of Christianity. Christ is not one of 
the ways, He is the Way, the only way that 
leads to the Father. He is not one truth among 
many doctrines, He is the Truth, the only 
truth that guards against error. He is not a 
life, He is the Life, the only Life that saves 
from everlasting death. * Thou art all my life, 
without Thee there is only death. 5 In the 


Gospel, the human in the humanity of Christ 
His fatigue, His hunger, His tears, His 
recoil from suffering, His death is so asso- 
ciated with the divine in His divine nature, 
that we can make no mistake. He was born a 
poor child, but the angels sang Him a cradle- 
song such as was never sung for any son of 
man. He died on the gibbet of the Cross, but 
the sun darkened his light in sign of mourning. 
And so in the history of His kingdom the human 
and the divine will appear side by side. Dis- 
beliefs and ingratitude, betrayals and denials, 
persecution, open or insidious, will continue in 
His kingdom. But always the finger of God 
will be evident, so that by scandals we may not 
be led into error. 

The fundamental truth of the mission of the 
Apostolic Church is also laid down in the 
Gospel. According to the showing of the 
gospels Christ instituted a Church, only one 
Church, and that Church He founded not 
upon private judgement, but on the rock of 
Peter (Matt, xvi, 1 8) . To the Apostolic Church 
Christ committed His own authority : c As 
the Father hath sent Me, I also send you * 
(John xx, 2 1). * He that heareth you heareth 
Me 3 (Luke x, 16). He sent His Apostles to 
teach the nations (Mark xvi, 15) and He 


entrusted Peter with the special mission of 
confirming his brethren in the faith (Luke 
xxii, 32). He gave His Apostles the power to 
forgive sins (John xx, 23) and to celebrate the 
sacred mysteries in memory of Him. Thus 
seekers after truth in all times are directed by 
Him to the Apostolic Church. 

The Gospel contains materials of everlasting 
value for the fabric of Christian conduct and 
government. But the gospels must be accepted 
as a whole, as a seamless garment, like the 
cloak of Christ Himself. We must not take 
strips of it to suit our own liking, nor must we 
distort isolated texts against the sense of the 
Gospel as a whole. Christ not only com- 
manded us to search the Scriptures (John 
v, 39), He also commanded us to hear the 
Church (Matt, xviii, 17), Therefore, besides 
the Bible He recognized another rule of faith 
in the Tradition of the teaching authority of 
the Church. He not only required a faith that 
should move mountains, He also demanded 
the good works of penance and mercy. And as 
good works He counted not only prayer and 
almsgiving, so long as they are free from 
Pharisaical ostentation, but He also com- 
manded His disciples to fast. He not only gave 
the command to honour father and mother. 


but He also said : fi He that loveth father or 
mother more than Me is not worthy of Me * 
(Mark vii, 10 ; Matt, x, 37). He spoke of 
praying in the silence of one's chamber, and 
yet He also called the house of His Father a 
house for public prayer. The left hand must 
not know what alms the right hand gives, and 
yet the disciples of the Gospel must let their 
light shine before men. At one time we are 
told that Christ came to bring peace and not 
the sword, that is, to establish peace and con- 
cord among His disciples. In another passage 
He says that He is come to bring division and 
not peace, that is, that the individual must be 
prepared for the sake of Christ to bear the 
opposition of his own family. Particular texts 
of the gospels must be understood in their 
connection with the Gospel as a whole. 

Everything in the Old Covenant which 
possessed permanent value Christ used in the 
construction of the New and eternal Covenant, 
but He transformed it by incorporating it in 
the Omega temple of perfection. The Epistle 
to the Hebrews tells us that Christ is greater 
than the angels, greater than Moses, greater 
than the high priests and the victims of olden 
times. Christ retained the Decalogue as the 
fundamental law for Christian conduct and 


government, but by the evangelical counsels 
He pointed the way to a higher perfection. 
Christ paid a tribute to the ethical value of the 
Old Law when He took the text of his great 
commandment, the love of God and the love 
of one's neighbour, from the Pentateuch 
(Deut. x, 12 ; xiii 3 ; Lev. xix, n ; Matt. 
xxii, 37), but He endowed the word fi God * 
with a sublimer meaning, and by c neighbour 5 
He understood not only a compatriot, but any 
man, according to the parable of the good 
Samaritan. Love of one's neighbour according 
to the Heart of Jesus expects no reward for 
benefits conferred. Love of one's neighbour 
according to the Heart of Jesus abhors error 
and the desecration of the sanctuary, but treats 
erring humanity with all kindness, and does not 
extinguish the smoking flax. Similarly, the 
Founder of the New Covenant adopted in His 
liturgy the immortally beautiful prayers of the 
sacred books of pre-Christian Judaism. And 
so in the services of the Church we still hear the 
Psalms and readings from the prophets ; even 
on the greatest feasts of the Church, as to-night 
in the Matins of Christmas, and before Easter 
during Holy Week. In His e Our Father * the 
Son of Man puts first the petitions ' hallowed 
be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be 


done/ and only later the petitions for daily 
bread and for deliverance from evil. The men 
of the Old Testament, Hebrew-wise, would 
have read the Our Father backwards. On the 
Mount of the Transfiguration Moses and Elias 
appeared on each side of Christ, as if to deliver 
the law and the books of the prophets to the 
Apostles of the New Covenant, who were 
there present on Thabor. 

* God ... in these last times has spoken to 
us in His Son. 9 Then let us hold sacred what 
the Son has said to us, and read it over and 
over again in the Gospels. We shall find the 
time for it if we are in earnest, and if we devote 
to it some of the time that we waste on other 
things. The Gospel is more than any human 
book, and therefore no human book can 
worthily take its place. Let us give more 
edifying books as Christmas presents ! But 
the first place among all books must be 
reserved for the Book of books, especially for 
the gospels and the other writings of the New 
Testament. Christmas is the feast of the three 
gospels, each with its own blessing : c May the 
reading of the Gospel be our salvation and 
protection. 9 c Through the words of the Gospel 
may our sins be blotted out/ e May Christ, the 
Son of God, teach us the words of His Gospel/ 


A storm is brewing in this country to-day, 
a hurricane which would sweep the Sacred 
Scriptures out of Germany, because they are 
Jewish books. It is my conviction that its 
effect on the contrary will be to enkindle in 
men of all creeds a new and holy enthusiasm 
for the sacred books. Our separated brethren 
do not kneel with us at the Communion-rail. 
But to meditate with faith on the Holy Gospel 
is to enter into spiritual communion with our 
Lord and Saviour. In May, 1928, a great 
Congress was held in Turin for the spread of 
the Holy Scriptures, with the motto : * To 
know, to live and to spread the Gospel.* The 
Holy Father on that occasion wrote to the 
Congress as follows : c No book can speak to 
the soul with such light of truth, with such 
power of example and with such loving- 
kindness as the Holy Gospel. 3 

Divine Master, from whose Book shines the 
sun whose glow warms the hearts of men ! 
Thou, the Alpha and the Omega, Thou, the 
promise and the fulfilment, the corner-stone of 
the Old and of the New Covenant with the 
Father, Thou, the manna of the Old Testament 
and the Host of the New, come and open our 
eyes so that we may more clearly see Thy 
picture in the Holy Gospel ! Speak Thy 


Ephetha, that we may more readily hear Thy 
words, the words of life ! Open our lips, that 
we may spread Thy good tidings ever far and 
wide ! Saviour of the world, give us the power 
to become children of God, and to-morrow to 
see Thy glory. Amen. 


'Jesus Christ, yesterday and to-day, and the same 
for ever 9 (Heb. xiii, 8). 

t I ^HE Christian system of reckoning time 
JL divides history into two periods, that 
which precedes the birth of Christ and that 
which follows it. Every time we write a letter 
or put the date on a sheet of paper, December 
3 ist, 1933,. or January ist, 1934, we confess 
the name of Christ, from the year of whose 
birth the years of the Christian era are num- 
bered. Jesus Christ, the corner-stone for all 
time, e the king of ages * (i Tim. i, 17), the 
godfather and protector of the New Year, the 
eternal calendar of history, Christ, yesterday 
and to-day, and the same to-morrow and for 

The Saviour of the world left behind Him 
an inexhaustible blessing for all ages and for 
all nations. His name is to be invoked upon 



all nations, and among all nations His king- 
dom is to be spread, so that everywhere the 
curse may be turned to a blessing, and the 
face of the earth renewed. Therefore Christ 
gave to His Church the command to teach all 
nations from the treasury of revealed truth, to 
baptize all nations in the grace-stream of 
Redemption, to gather all nations together in 
a world-wide divine kingdom upon which the 
sun never sets. In this kingdom of Christ on 
earth there are no pet-children specially 
favoured, and no step-children neglected, for 
He is c rich unto all that call upon Him ' 
(Rom. x, 12). In this kingdom different 
nations need not abandon whatever is good 
in their national characteristics, and on the 
other hand the Church must not abandon her 
super-national character or identify herself 
with any particular nation. It was otherwise 
with the Asiatic gentiles of antiquity : with 
them religion and State were so identified that 
the rise or fall of a nation meant the rise or 
fall of the national divinity* 

In the German nation a movement is afoot 
to establish a Nordic or Germanic religion, 
which is to take its place side by side with the 
two recognized Christian creeds. Last year in 
a Diet at Eisenach the demand was made that 


this third creed should receive in the Third 
Reich the rights of a publicly recognized 
religious society. And in the scheme for 
the coming assessment of Church rates the 
official recognition of the new religion, and 
therefore its equality of status with the 
two Christian denominations, is already pro- 

And so the sermon to-day is on the subject : 
Christianity and Germany. The Germans in 
question are the ancient Germans of the first 
eight centuries, not those of the Middle Ages. 
The conversion of the Germans to Christianity 
was not a perversion ; it was not a stunting of 
their normal development. The greatest per- 
version would be a relapse into the paganism 
of the ancient Germans. To-day's sermon will 
not be an attack on Germany, it will be a 
defence of Christianity. It is my conviction 
that a defence of Christianity is also a defence 
of Germany. I mean that the German 
people will be either Christian, or else they will 
cease to be. An apostasy from Christianity, a 
relapse into paganism, would be the beginning 
of the end of the German nation. 


First Question : What was the state of the ancient 
Germans before the coming of Christianity ? 

First let me make a preliminary remark. 
It is the world-wide reputation of German 
scholarship that it does not content itself with 
surmise, but draws its conclusions scientifically 
from historical sources. It is to be hoped that 
the good name of German research will be 
upheld in the sphere of antiquarianism, and 
therefore that all those who are writing about 
the conditions obtaining among the ancient Ger- 
mans begin by making a serious study of their 
historical sources, and do not compose fairy- 
stories out of their own imagination and 
according to their own preconceived ideas. 
Moreover it would not be scientific, on the 
one hand to praise to the skies all the good 
qualities of the pre-Christian Teutons, and on 
the other to ascribe all subsequent deteriora- 
tion to Christianity. Just as medical science is 
on its guard against charlatanism, so historical 
science and antiquarianism must beware of 
romancers and fable-mongers. Fortunately, 
with regard to the state of the ancient Germans, 
we possess a small but valuable historical 
source in the Germania of the Roman 
historian Tacitus, who wrote about the year 


A.D. 98. Two years previously the Apostle 
St. John had been writing his Apocalypse on 
the isle of Patmos, while in the far West the 
Roman author was collecting material about 
the ancient Germans. We confine ourselves to 
this historical source. 

It is a fact, that the ancient Germans on 
both banks of the Rhine, both north and south 
of the Danube, worshipped a number of gods : 
Mercury (Germania, c. 9) and Hercules, Donar 
and Wotan, Tuisco and Thor, Castor and 
Pollux (c. 43). In addition there were god- 
desses, Mother Earth and Freia. Some of 
these divinities had been adopted from the 
Pantheon of the Romans, and therefore were 
not of German origin. The German gods 
were fashioned after the likeness of men, they 
were idealized portraits of what a German 
hero or a German house-wife was conceived to 
be. According to Christian doctrine it is man 
that is made after the likeness of God, not God 
after the likeness of man. 

It is a fact, that the ancient Germans offered 
human sacrifices to their gods. In a sacred 
wood men were sacrificed to Ziu the god of 
war (c. 39), and the slaves who had washed the 
chariot of an island-goddess were afterwards 
drowned in the North Sea (c. 40). 


It is a fact, that the ancient Germans in their 
forests and marshes indulged in savage super- 
stition such as was found c among hardly any 
other people 5 ; that they sought the answers 
from the gods by runic staffs, and tried to 
learn the issue of an undertaking from the 
flight of eagles or crows, or even from the 
neighing of horses (c. 10). 

It is a fact, that the Germanic peoples were 
savagely warlike in their struggle with the 
Romans (c. 37), who by that time had already 
incorporated into their world-empire the tribes 
south of the Danube and west of the Rhine. 
Among themselves, the Germanic tribes were 
in almost continuous civil conflict. Only of 
one tribe, the Chauci, c the noblest of all the 
Germans/ is Tacitus able to tell us that they 
maintained their position by justice rather than 
by war (c. 35). As among every primitive 
people, even those of the early Bible, the 
vendetta was regarded by the Germans as a 
moral duty. If a member of the tribe was 
murdered, then his kinsmen, or in case of 
necessity all the members of the tribe, were 
strictly bound to avenge the dead man by 
slaying his murderer. The obligation of the 
vendetta might pass by inheritance from father 
to son (c. 21). Some refused to shave their 


beards or cut their hair until their enemy had 
been slain (c. 31). 

It is a fact, that slavery was the custom 
among the ancient Germans. The lot of slaves 
was on the whole an easier one with them than 
with the Romans; but even among the Germans 
a slave might be put to death with impunity. 

Another fact is the proverbial indolence of 
the ancient Germans. The men left all agri- 
cultural labour to be done by slaves and women 
(c. 14 seq.). In time of peace they spent their 
lives either in hunting or else in sleeping, 
eating, and drinking (c. 15). The Roman 
Tacitus speaks again and again with scorn of 
their ' sleeping even till day-time ' and of the 
* customary indolence 3 of the Germans. 

Other facts are the mania of the ancient 
Germans for drinking (c. zzseq.}, their carou- 
sals, which often terminated in bloodshed 
(c. 21), and their passion for dice-playing, at 
which they would wager even their own 
personal freedom, and if they lost, would serve 
as slaves. 

In three things the Germans were admirable, 
and here Tacitus is able to hold them up as 
examples to be imitated by his countrymen. 
They were exemplary in their loyalty, especially 
within the limits of the * comradeship, 5 when 


once they had given their word to the leader 
(c. 13 seq.}. They were exemplary in their 
hospitality, a virtue practised among the Ger- 
mans c as among no other people 9 (c. 21). 
They were exemplary in their high ideal of 
marriage and in their conjugal fidelity. c Mar- 
riage among the Germans/ writes Tacitus 
(c. 17), ' is regarded as strictly sacred, and in 
this matter the Germans deserve the highest 
praise. They are practically the only people 
among the barbarians who are content with 
monogamy/ Tacitus also pays a tribute to 
their conjugal fidelity (c. 1 9) . Mixed marriages 
with non-Germans were condemned as a possible 
source of degeneracy (c. 4 ; 46) ; though this 
was changed when the Gauls crossed the 
Rhine (c. 28). Woman was treated as * a 
sacred being/ and in some cases venerated 
with divine honours (c. 8). Admittedly there 
is a shadow cast over* this alluring picture : 
Though it was forbidden to kill children once 
born, in practice crippled or very poor 
children might be exposed. 

Of any civilization properly so-called among 
the Germans of the pre-Christian period there 
can be no question, according to Tacitus. The 
peoples on the banks of the Euphrates and the 
Nile, already some two or three thousand years 


previously , possessed a highly developed civiliza- 
tion in agriculture and manufacture, in the 
writing of history and the administration of 
justice, and, as we learn from the Tell Amarna 
letters, in commerce and even postal service. 
The Babylonians used a kind of psalmody in 
their worship. In the little land of Chanaan 
there were schools for the young of both sexes. 
The Germans, on the contrary, had no archi- 
tecture, because their gods were worshipped 
in groves and not in temples ; while men lived 
in wooden huts. It is a mortifying fact that the 
pictorial representations of the ancient Ger- 
mans which we possess do not come from the 
hands of their compatriots, but from Roman 
sculptors, who on Trajan's column in Rome 
have depicted German prisoners of war in the 
Emperor's triumphal procession. For the 
vocal music of the ancient Germans, whether 
in religious worship (c. 2) or in battle, Tacitus 
makes the apology that their singing is a 
harmony of souls rather than a harmony of 
voices (c. 3). 

Second Question : How was Christianity introduced 
to the ancient Germans ? 

The first missionaries had the twofold task of 
the prophets (Jer. i, 10) : to uproot and plant, 


to pull down and build up. They had to 
uproot the cockle of polytheism, human sacri- 
fices, and superstition. The vendetta and 
slavery, sloth and drunkenness, although they 
did not immediately disappear with the oaks 
of Donar, had to be * pulled down ' by a 
9 gradual process of education and replaced by 
Christian virtues a process which even to-day 
is not quite complete. They had to plant 
everything that was good seed : loyalty, a 
high ideal of marriage and conjugal fidelity, 
reverence for women. On Chapter 22 
of the Germania a commentator has the 
following remark : * Inordinate sleeping, a 
relic of early German sloth, first disappeared 
under the influence of Christianity and its 
early Mass. 5 The cremation of the dead also 
was abolished by the Christian missionaries as 
pagan immorality. 

While the angels were singing their song of 
world-peace over the cradle of Bethlehem, the 
ancient Germans were still singing their war- 
songs in many a heavy conflict. A few years 
later the eagles of the Roman legions con- 
fronted the German peoples on the banks of 
the Zuyder Zee. The Word Incarnate was a 
boy of nine at Nazareth when the battle of 
Teutoburg forest was fought and Herrmann, 


the Prince of the Cherusci, annihilated the 
legions of Varus. Emmanuel's prayer for the 
peace of the world was heard for the ancient 
Germans too, and His command to the 
Apostles was given also for their benefit : 
c Go, the fields are ripe for the harvest. 9 

The Germans on the left bank of the Rhine 
received the first messengers of Christianity in 
the second century. The left bank of the 
Rhine was a province of the Roman Empire, 
and therefore Christian missionaries were able 
to come and plant the Cross there under the 
protection of the Roman legions, although in 
Rome itself the Christians were still being 
persecuted. The three military strongholds of 
the Rhine, Mainz, Treves, and Cologne, were 
also the strongholds of the Christian mission. 

The incursion of the barbarians, breaking 
like a great wave over Europe, caused Chris- 
tianity to spread more swiftly. The Suevi, like 
the West Goths, were at first Arians, but 
became Catholic in the sixth century. The 
first tribe to be converted directly to the 
Catholic Church without previously passing 
through Arianism, were the Franks. With the 
baptism of the Prankish King Clodwig in 496 
came the crowning of this phase of the Christian 
mission. From the sixth century onwards Irish 


and Scottish monks and other isolated mis- 
sionaries gathered the German tribes round 
Cross and altar ; St. Columbanus, St. Gall and 
St. Rupert laboured in the region between 
Regensburg and Salzburg, St. Killian among 
the East Franks, St. Emmeran in Regensburg, 
St. Corbinian in Freising. 

In the eighth century St. Boniface, the true 
Apostle of the Germans, consolidated the 
individual work of earlier missionaries which 
had never been properly co-ordinated by 
ecclesiastical organization, by the founding of 
seven episcopal sees and by the holding of 
synods. On his third visit to Rome St. Boni- 
face, finally Archbishop of Mainz, received his 
official mission from the Vicar of Christ. In 
the year 724 he felled the oaks of Donar at 
Geismar and used their wood for the building 
of a Church of St. Peter. The fall of the oaks 
of Donar, like the sacrifice of Elias on Carmel, 
was the pronouncement of a divine judgement, 
to tell these primitive people on whose side 
the true God was. On June 5th, 754, St. 
Boniface died a martyr, the book of the gospels 
in his hand. Now that German soil was newly 
irrigated with a martyr's blood, God's plant 
could grow and flourish. 
The Emperor Charlemagne combined the 


political subjugation of the Saxons with their 
conversion to Christianity, and this was in part 
brought about by force, because he thought 
that without religious unity it would be impos- 
sible to achieve political cohesion among these 
tribes. To-day an unreasoning hate is being 1 
aroused against Charlemagne for having dealt 
the death-blow to paganism among the Ger- 
man people. It should not be forgotten, 
however, that before the time of Charlemagne 
500 years of missionary work, without the 
use of political pressure, had been devoted to 
this purpose, and that the barbarian principle, 
that it is for the ruler of the country to decide 
the religion of his people, continued to be 
admitted for centuries after Charlemagne, 
even until the time of the Reformation. Com- 
pulsory baptisms are not according to the 
spirit of Christ or the spirit of the Church 
But it is an extraordinary thing that the 
reproaches which are levelled at Charlemagne 
for the compulsory baptism of the Saxons are 
not made with the same indignation against 
the Emperor Julian the Apostate, who in the 
fourth century with a much more brutal abuse 
of political power, and in league with the 
Israelites, tried to destroy Christianity and to 
set paganism once more on the throne. 


Through Christianity the Germans became a 
nation. Tacitus enumerates about fifty Ger- 
man tribes, who were engaged in constant civil 
war with one another. Most of them have 
disappeared from history ; even the valiant 
Cherusci, the conquerors of Teutoburg forest. 
It is an historical fact that this swarm of tribes 
was first welded together into stable unity as one 
nation in consequence of their conversion to 
Christianity. The relapse of this nation into 
Germanic paganism would with equal cer- 
tainty result in national dissolution. The 
Roman Tacitus uttered a fearful curse upon our 
forefathers : * May the Germanic tribes pre- 
serve their hatred for one another. There can 
be no greater benefit for us than division among 
our enemies 5 (c. 33) . Christianity has changed 
this curse of the pagan into a blessing, and 
to-day we repeat it as a New Year's blessing 
for our nation : * May the German people 
preserve their love for one another ! There 
can be no greater benefit for us than the unity 
and concord of our people*' 

Through Christianity the Germans became a 
civilized nation. The monks of St. Benedict 
taught our forefathers agriculture and the 
handicrafts, as well as the fine arts in the service 
of the liturgy. In pagan times, when the 


Germans spent their time in idleness, intel- 
lectual life was practically non-existent, and 
now, after the conversion of the Germans to 
Christianity, we see new creative forces of 
culture arise. We see a springtime of intel- 
lectual activity, a golden age of early German 
literature, which finds its first expression in the 
heroic ballads of the eighth century, and 
reaches its most perfect development in the 
religious poems of the ninth century, especially 
in the Heliand. The Heliand, the first German 
version of the Gospel, a veritable pearl of 
literature, demands that loyalty which was 
the ideal of the ancient Germans as the due 
of the Christian Saviour, who appears as the 
leader of a mighty host summoning all men to 
join his company. The Heliand is the recon- 
ciliation, the marriage between Christianity 
and Germanism, The Heliand, the master- 
piece of a Saxon poet, appearing one genera- 
tion after the baptism of Widukind and his 
Saxons, is also an indication that the conver- 
sion of the Saxons was something more than 
a mere external acquiescence. In the same 
century there appeared in Alsace the Krist, 
the second German version of the Gospel. 
These historical facts cannot be gainsaid : it 
was through Christianity that the Germans 


first became a nation, and a civilized nation 
in the proper sense of the word. 

The most difficult task of the Christian 
missioners was to induce the Germans to 
change their swords into ploughshares, to 
abolish the laws of the vendetta, and to bend 
the knee before the Cross of Christ. That the 
Son of Man should have allowed Himself to 
be led as a lamb to the slaughter, without 
turning at bay like a wild bear, was a scandal 
to these primitive folk. The missionaries 
were able thereupon to point out that in the 
Psalms of the Old Testament (Ps. xliv, 4-6) 
the Lord's Anointed had already appeared as 
the leader of a victorious army, and that in the 
Apocalypse also the spread of the kingdom of 
God is represented as a victorious combat with 
the dragon. In the end the missionaries had 
to explain to the Germans that there is a moral 
heroism even in loving one's enemy ; that a 
moral victory, in fact, calls for greater heroism 
than the vendetta ; that the Saviour, the 
Heliand to use their own language did not 
throw away his shield, that on the contrary 
by suffering His Passion and Death without 
resistance He overcame death and Satan, and 
by His Resurrection gained the greatest victory 
that the world has ever known. In this way 


Christianity not only renewed the face of the 
German earth, it also created anew the hearts 
of the German people, 

Third Question : What is the Relation of Chris- 
tianity to the German Race ? 

From the Church's point of view there is no 
objection whatever to racial research and race 
culture. Nor is there any objection to the 
endeavour to keep the national characteristics 
of a people as far as possible pure and unadul- 
terated, and to foster their national spirit by 
emphasis upon the common ties of blood*which 
unite them. From the Church's point of view 
we must make only three conditions : First, 
love of one's own race must not lead to the 
hatred of other nations. Secondly, the indivi- 
dual must never consider himself freed from 
the obligation of nourishing his own soul by 
the persevering use of the means of grace 
which the Church provides. The young man 
who is always hearing about the blessedness of 
his own race is apt too easily to conceive that he 
is no longer bound by duties to God and His 
Church, duties of humility and chastity. 
Thirdly, race culture must not assume an atti- 
tude of hostility to Christianity, What are we 


to say of the monstrous contention that 
Christianity has corrupted the German race, 
that Christianity especially because it is bur- 
dened with Old Testament ideas is not 
adapted to the genius of the nation, and that 
therefore it is an obstacle in the way of the 
national consciousness ? 

What is the relation of Christianity to the 
German race ? Race and Christianity are not 
mutually opposed, but they do belong to 
different orders. Race is of the natural order ; 
Christianity is a revealed religion and therefore 
of the supernatural order. Race means union 
with the nation ; Christianity means primarily 
union with God. Race is nationally inclusive 
and exclusive ; Christianity is a world-wide 
message of salvation for all nations. The 
concepts of revelation and redemption, of 
supernature and grace must not be watered 
down. The fourth gospel makes a net dis- 
tinction between those who are born of blood 
and those who are born of God (John i, 13). 
Christ also clearly distinguished between what 
flesh and blood had revealed and what was 
revealed by the Father in Heaven (Matt. 
xvi, 17 foil.). We are Christians not because 
we are born of Christian parents ; we are 
Christians because after our birth we were 


reborn and made a new creature by baptism 
in Christ (2 Cor. xv, 17). 

No nation ever insisted more on race and 
ties of blood than the Israelites of the Old 
Testament. But in the fullness of time the 
dogma of race was eclipsed by the dogma of 
faith. Around the cradle of Bethlehem there 
were Jews and pagans, shepherds from the 
land of Juda and wise men from the East. 
In the kingdom of this Child, according to the 
words of His Apostle, 6 there is no distinction 
of the Jew and the Greek, for the same is Lord 
over all * (Rom. x, 12). 

What is the relation of Christianity to the 
German race ? The Christian, so long as he 
observes the above conditions 1 , is not forbidden 
to stand up for his race and for its rights. It is 
possible, therefore, without divided allegiance, 
to be an upright German and at the same time 
an upright Christian. Hence there is no need 
to turn our backs upon Christianity and to 
set up a Nordic or Germanic religion, in 
order to profess our nationality. But we 
must never forget : we are not redeemed 
with German blood. We are redeemed with 
the Precious Blood of our crucified Lord 
(i Pet. i, 9). There is no other name and 
no other blood under Heaven, in which we 


can be saved, but the name and the blood of 

Fourth Question : What is the Relation of Chris- 
tianity to German folk-lore ? 

It is the fashion nowadays to study folk-lore 
with which we in Bavaria are richly endowed 
and to make comparisons, and wherever 
possible to trace all traditional usages, whether 
popular or ecclesiastical, to Germanic origin. 
The study of folk-lore may render valuable 
services in the cause of patriotism and national 
history. But we must beware of inventing 
impossible associations, against all critical and 
scientific rules, and of calling sacred what is 
really an abuse and a disorder. We must keep 
the winnowing-fan in our hands, to separate 
the wheat from the chaff. For the rest, here, 
too, we must avoid building fancy-castles in 
the air, devoid of historical foundation. For 
example, you cannot say in the same breath 
that the Christmas-tree was first mentioned 
in the seventeenth century, but that it goes 
back to the winter customs of the ancient 

It is true that Tacitus mentions the c gleam- 
ing white horse * which was maintained in a 


grove at the public expense, but we must not 
on that account derive all the white horses of 
St. Martin from that of the ancient Germans. 
It is true that according to Tacitus the c things * 
or councils of the ancient Germans were held 
either at the full moon or at the new moon, 
but it does not follow that all moonlight 
usages derive from that old custom. They 
might more legitimately be attributed to the 
Israelitic customs of the Old Testament, where 
we find the new moon celebrated as a festival. 
Likewise, the custom of signing the first sheaf 
of the harvest with a cross might be derived 
from an early biblical custom ; because in the 
Old Testament the first sheaf of the harvest, 
as well as all first-fruits, was consecrated to the 
Lord. We have adopted into the German 
vocabulary many expressions from the Sacred 
Scriptures, even Hebrew expressions. We 
speak of Tohuwabohu (Gen. i, 2), of Shibboleth 
(Jud. xii, 6), and among the Franks, of 
Krethi Plethi (2 Kings xv, 18). The science 
of folk-lore should therefore inquire whether 
many of our usages may not be derived from 
the same source. 

In this matter there is no dogma at stake. 
But it would be an error indiscriminately to 
associate all popular customs with ancient 


Germanic usages and superstitions : singing 
6 to the star n on the feast of the Epiphany, 
the blessing of palms on Palm-Sunday, the 
blessing of houses, and the blessing of new 
fruits, storm-candles, and the rest. Many of 
these have their origin in the liturgy of the 
Church, for example, the blessing of palms 
and of new fruits, and other blessings of the 
Church, which are neither superstitions nor 
relics of pagan customs. The Easter egg is a 
symbol of new life on the day of the Resurrec- 
tion of Christ ; All Souls 5 bread was originally 
a distribution of bread to the poor, which, 
together with prayer for the dead, was, and 
still is, customary on All Souls' Day. Even in 
the calendar issued by the National Associa- 
tion for German Catholics abroad the distinc- 
tion is not clearly made between pagan super- 
stition and Catholic usage. Devotion to our 
Lady is not the worship of the goddess 
Freia baptized. The Archangel Michael is 
not a successor appointed to Wotan for the 
benefit of the German converted to Chris- 

Educationally it is a most valuable thing 
that the youth of Germany should be instructed 

1 " Sternsingen." 


about the origins of their nation. But they 
should learn not only about the origins of 
their earliest ancestors, but also about the 
golden age of intellectual life in eatly Christian 
times, about the period of the Heliand and other 
religious poetry, so that the youth of Germany 
may know their people on the religious side 
and not only on the pagan side. The best form 
of ancestor-worship is to renounce all that is 
evil in one's forefathers, in our case the 
revengefulness, the indolence and the drunken- 
ness of the ancient Germans, and on the other 
hand to accept as a sacred inheritance all that 
is good in them, in our case their loyalty, their 
pure conception of marriage and their rever- 
ence for women. In this sense the youth of 
Germany may learn a lesson from Tacitus : 
c Marriage in Germany is held strictly sacred. 
In Germany people do not laugh at crimes. 
It is not the fashion there to be seduced and to 
let oneself be seduced. In Germany good 
morals are held of more account than good 
laws elsewhere ' (c. 17 and 19). Bible history 
should not be ousted from German schools 
by the study of German antiquities ; because 
the youth of Germany must learn to know not 
only their Germanic ancestors, but also their 
Christian forefathers, their ancestors, so to 


speak, on the father's and on the mother's side. 
The Fatherland will be better served by 
upright disciples of the Gospel than by 
warlike ancient Germans. 

Powers inimical to Christianity will endea- 
vour also during this New Year to resurrect 
the paganism of ancient Germany from its 
grave. The proposal has already been pub- 
licly put forward to call the three days of the 
week Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday after 
the names of pagan Germanic gods : Wotan's 
day, Donar's day, and Freia's day. The 
6 Calendar of German Labour " has placed 
before parents a selection of ancient Germanic 
names, to take the place of the biblical and 
Christian names, such as John, Henry, Mary, 
which had hitherto appeared in the calendars. 
But the majority of the German people will 
not so quickly renounce and betray their 
Saviour. We are not ashamed of our Christian 
names, those names which are inscribed on the 
tombstones of our fathers and which remind us 
of our heavenly models and intercessors with 
God. The grace of God did not save us from 
the paganism of Russia in order to let us fall 
now into a Germanic paganism. The gods of 
paganism are dead ; but the Saviour says : 
' He that believeth in Me shall live * (John 


xi, 25). Emmanuel Geibel in one of his ballads 
makes a German mount guard at the foot of 
the Gross of Christ. The Gospel does not 
say that it was so ; but it is not intrinsically 
impossible, because there were many Germans 
in the Roman legions. However that may be, 
we will mount guard under the Cross of Christ. 
We will not let His name be dishonoured. We 
will let not the oaks of Donar be planted in 
place of the Cross. We promise to the Saviour 
of our nation the ancient German loyalty and 

In the New Year our fellow-countryman. 
Brother Conrad von Altotting, will be canon- 
ized. Never in the history of the Church have 
so many German men and women been beati- 
fied or canonized during one Pontificate as 
during the Pontificate of our Holy Father Pope 
Pius XI : Blessed Irmengard, St. Peter Cani- 
sius, who preached from the pulpit of this 
Church, St. Albert the Great these two both 
of them Doctors of the Church Blessed Stilla, 
and now Brother Conrad of Altotting. May 
these German saints present our petitions 
before the throne of God, that our dear German 
people may preserve the Christian faith and 
the Christian morality. To the King of these 
saints, the patron of the New Year, to the 


Christ of yesterday and to-day and for ever, 
let every knee bow and every tongue give 
praise : Praised be Jesus Christ for ever. 


rht At&yflotetr Press, Plymouth. William Brendon & Son, Ltd